NHL Trade Rumors: 7 Teams That Would Love to Land Sergei Gonchar from the Sens
Throughout his career, Sergei Gonchar has been a versatile defenseman who has played both sides of the puck very well.
Now in his late 30s, Gonchar finds himself on the worst team in the NHL. The Senators will probably be looking to go into a new direction and probably trade Gonchar at the deadline. He'll come at a hefty price at $5.5 million, but there are plenty of contenders well below the salary cap that can use Gonchar's services.
Sergei brings in a plethora of experience, veteran leadership, powerplay quarterbacking skills and a hard shot rivaled that's been giving goaltenders nightmares for years.
Here are seven teams that would love to have Gonchar at the right price.
There's a pretty good chance Teemu Selanne won't return to the NHL. This will be a huge loss for the Anaheim Ducks. They will lose their veteran leader and have to face the 2011-12 season without their best player in franchise history.
This is where Sergei Gonchar can come in. The Ducks have a loaded first line with Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan. On the defensive side of things, they lack some depth. Lubomir Visnovsky is past his prime, and Cam Fowler still has a few years left before becoming elite.
Gonchar can come to Anaheim and be a mentor for Fowler and and make the Ducks powerplay one of the most dangerous in the league. Imagine Visnovsky, Gonchar, Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan all out on the same time for two minutes.
Looks like a threatening unit.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets added Jeff Carter this offseason to bolster their offense.
However, their defense is unbelievably weak. Despite adding James Wisniewski, the Jackets don't have an elite defenseman. They added Radek Martinek who is bound to get hurt.
Gonchar can be a good fit with the Jackets. Although he won't ever want to play for them, Gonchar can improve their powerplay and turn Rick Nash and Jeff Carter to even bigger threats. He can help be a great role model for young defenseman Marc Methot and perhaps help get the Jackets to the playoffs.
The Florida Panthers experienced the biggest makeover among all the teams this summer.
That being said, they're still $14 million under the cap. They probably won't want to spend all the way to the cap so that they can make a profit in South Beach, a city notorious for its apathetic fans.
Gonchar can take the Panthers to the next level. Along with Brian Campbell, they can create a formidable powerplay tandem. Most people say that despite all the changes, the Panthers still need a few more pieces to make the playoffs.
Getting Gonchar will help them get in. He carries the puck up and down the ice very well and will help facilitate the Panthers' offense.
Los Angeles Kings
Los Angeles is a likely destination for Sergei Gonchar. They're going to make a run for the Stanley Cup this season, and they'll definitely be buyers near the trading deadline.
The Kings are about $9 million under the cap and making a move for Gonchar will make a lot of sense for them.
Gonchar played with defenseman Rob Scuderi in Pittsburgh when they won the Stanley Cup together. He will bring a veteran presence to a locker room that really doesn't have a Bill Guerin or Mark Recchi type figure. He'll be the elder statesman of the club.
The playoffs require calmness during times of adversity. Gonchar brings that. His calm, temperate personality helped the Penguins bounce back from two 0-2 series deficits in the 2009 playoffs.
Finally, having him on the powerplay will make the Kings ridiculously powerful on special teams because of their offense is already formidable.
The Minnesota Wild will probably be one of the bubble teams in the Western Conference who will be looking for a seventh or eighth seed this season.
They made a few solid additions in Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley. They lack firepower on defense, though.
Adding a puck-moving defenseman like Sergei Gonchar will make their offense even better and having him around will put less pressure on defensemen Marek Zidlicky and Greg Zanon.
The Wild are over $10 million under the salary cap, and if they need to make a late season addition to put them over the hump and into the playoffs, Gonchar might be the guy they pursue.
The Predators already have Shea Weber and Ryan Suter on defense. As good as they are, they're still young and haven't found much success in the playoffs. If the Predators want to contend for the Stanley Cup, the possibility of acquiring Sergei Gonchar needs to be looked at.
Since Weber and Suter are already the big guns on the Predators blue line, this will take pressure off Gonchar to perform. Gonchar and Weber can make the Preds powerplay absolutely lethal.
The Predators are also almost $16 million under the salary cap and can afford to get Gonchar.
Finally, Gonchar can be the veteran leader along with David Legwand on a young team that needs some guys with big game experience.
The Avalanche have a lot of young players like Erik Johnson and Kyle Quincey that can use some grooming and nurturing from Gonchar. After being called a draft bust, Johnson could benefit from Gonchar's presence.
The Avs are almost $19 million under the cap and can afford to acquire Gonchar. Gonchar can be the leader of this team that has lost experienced veterans like Joe Sakic and Adam Foote to retirement in recent years.
This team has plenty of young forwards ready to boom like Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny, but they are a bit weak on the blue line. Gonchar can change this and also add a scoring boost from the blue line that the Avalanche lost after John-Michael Liles departed to Toronto.