Anton Volchenkov a Good Fit for the Pittsburgh Penguins

Kevin BerthaCorrespondent IMay 20, 2010

OTTAWA, ON - APRIL 20:  Anton Volchenkov #24 of the Ottawa Senators plays the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quaterfinals during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Place on April 20, 2010 in Ottawa, Canada. The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Ottawa Senators 7-4. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

Anybody who has a third grade education knows about the "square peg, round hole" figure of speech.

Square pegs do not fit into round holes. Square pegs fit into square holes. Round pegs fit into round holes.

When it comes to the task of being a good fit for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Anton Volchenkov is a round peg in a round hole. 

It is likely that the Penguins will not resign star defenseman Sergei Gonchar this offseason. Gonchar's contract is worth around $5 million per year, and it will be hard for the Penguins to pay him at least $5 million without going over the salary cap. 

This offseason will have the Penguins letting some players go.

Matt Cooke is a possibility to leave. Ruslan Fedotenko is a near-definite to go somewhere else. Gonchar, whom the Penguins are aggressively trying to sign, may go also. 

The Penguins are already lacking defensive defensemen, and another loss on defense would hurt.

However, Volchenkov may be the answer to the Pens' defensive problems.

Volchenkov, 28, is an exceptional shot blocker and a heavy hitter. His playing style leads to very few penalty minutes, but he is a feisty player nonetheless.

The reason that Volchenkov is such a tremendous shot blocker is that he was once a goaltender.

Yes, Voclhenkov was a net-minder and a good one at that. His goalie skills have transitioned well to the position of defenseman.

While Volchenkov would fulfill the Penguins' need of a defensive-minded defenseman, the Ottawa Senators are also working hard to keep Volchenkov.

Volchenkov is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, along with Gonchar, on July 1.

Many other teams, along with the Penguins, have targeted Volchenkov as a potential free agent signee.

Much of it is due to his defensive ability—he is not known as a big scorer. (He has only 14 points this season, with only two points in the Senators' short postseason.)

Volchenkov plays hard, shuts down offensive threats, and doesn't spend much time in the penalty box. He's just what the Penguins need.

A defensive defenseman has been in the Penguins' cross-hairs since Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi both left in free agency last offseason. The Pens' lack of a good defender hurt them in the playoffs, and they will pursue one in free agency.

Volchenkov will likely not cost as much as Gonchar, and the Penguins have defensemen that are mostly offensive-minded. 

Will Anton Volchenkov be worth giving up Sergei Gonchar?

I think so, as the Penguins need a stay-at-home defenseman. Gonchar may be overpriced to the Pens due to his age, and he isn't a heavy-hitting, shot-blocker type of player like Volchenkov.

Sometimes giving up a marquee player to fulfill a team need is necessary.

I feel this is a necessary situation.