TSN is reporting that Sergei Gonchar has been signed by the Ottawa Senators to a 3-year deal worth an average of $5.5 million per year that comes complete with a full no-trade clause. (Ed. note: Oddly enough, it was a move that I suggested in an article this past March.)
Cynics should have a field day with this deal. Too old, too expensive, Russian, a NTC, and not enough defensive prowess are the likely rebuttals that you'll hear from detractors.
Yes, his signing marks the second time in two consecutive seasons that Bryan Murray has signed an older Russian player and considering how Alexei Kovalev's first season here turned out, it's not exactly like the bar's been set too high. Fortunately, Gonchar's been a model for consistency over his career. Via Twitter, TSN's Brent Wallace mentioned that Gonchar has scored at least 50 points a season for the last 10 seasons - except for 08-09 due to injury.
Although $5.5 million seems like it's a lot of jack, it's reasonable value considering that Gonchar is a legitimate top pairing defenceman. Personally, I'd rather pay Gonchar this kind of money than overpay for the likes of a Volchenkov, a Zybynek Michalek (who signed with Pittsburgh for $20-million for 5 years) or any of those other tier two sorts. Albeit, maybe it's a bit high for a 36 year old defenceman, however, he should serve as an ideal mentor for Erik Karlsson and he will help a Senators power play that has lacked any discernable threat for the past few years.
And although the NTC is a bit of a cause for concern, it is a necessary evil to entice a free agent to come to Ottawa. I can live with that. Besides, it's not like these clauses have prevented players from leaving in the past. (Ed. note: Thanks Dany.)
According to the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch, Jesse Winchester has been resigned to a 2-year, $750K per season pact. Not a bad contract for the Senators' fourth-line center. Now if only Ottawa could get that elusive second line center, trade Chris Kelly and put Mike Fisher where he belongs, they'll be alright.