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Senators trade Gonchar's rights to Stars @NHLdotcom

The Ottawa Senators on Thursday traded the rights to unrestricted free agent defenseman Sergei Gonchar to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a conditional sixth-round choice in the 2013 NHL Draft.

In the event Dallas signs Gonchar to a contract for the 2013-14 season prior to the start of the draft in Newark, N.J., on June 30, Dallas will transfer its sixth-round selection to Ottawa.

"We thank Sergei for his efforts in Ottawa," Senators general manager Bryan Murray said in a statement. "We felt that this trade will give Sergei the opportunity to extend his career in the NHL and we wish him success with the Stars."

Gonchar, who turned 39 in April, scored three goals and added 24 assists in 45 games during the regular season for the Senators while averaging 23:59 of ice time. He contributed six assists in 10 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

?We just had our pro meetings and we think Sergei Gonchar is one of the top free agents available this year,? Stars general manager Jim Nill said. ?We want to make our team better, we want to improve our defense and Sergei has been a great player for many years in the league. He???s a high-end, character player. We know he???s going to bring leadership to the team on the ice and off the ice. He???s going to help with our power play. He???s been a great player for many years. To have the opportunity to grab a player like this is something we???ve been looking to do since I came on board.???

Gonchar, the 14th player taken in the 1992 NHL Draft, is coming off a three-year, $16.5 million contract and reportedly is interested in a two-year deal -- something that Nill said he's willing to discuss.

"Yes, I would. It all depends on money, too,??? Nill said. ???It???s kind of a give-and-take. It all depends on the salary he wants and it all kind of works hand-in-hand. It gives us the rights to negotiate with him now, and we???ll talk with him and his agent and see if we can work out a deal.???

Gonchar has scored 217 goals and 558 assists for 775 points in 1,177 regular-season games with the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins and the Senators. He's tops among active NHL defensemen in goals, assists and points, and ranks among the top-20 all-time in all three categories.

Gonchar has 22 goals, 68 assists and 90 points in 135 playoff games and was a member of the Penguins' 2009 Stanley Cup championship team.

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