The Dallas Stars signed veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar to a two-year, $10 million contract on Saturday, one day after acquiring the rights to the 39-year-old Russian from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.
The move should bolster a Stars blue line that was lacking for offense last season. Alex Goligoski led Dallas defensemen with 27 points in 47 games. But the contributions from the blue line tapered off from there, with Trevor Daley and Stephane Robidas ranking second among Dallas defensemen with 13 points each.
Last season, Gonchar collected three goals and 27 points in 45 games for Ottawa. The native of Chelyabinsk ranks first among active NHL defensemen in goals (217), assists (558) and points (775).
“We’re thrilled,” Dallas general manager Jim Nill said. “He’s a very good player, a character player. He’s going to bring a great presence to our dressing room. He’ll help the young kids. He’s been a good player for a lot of years and we’re counting on him to continue to do that here.”
With the acquisition of Gonchar, this is shaping up to be an eventful offseason in Dallas. At the conclusion of the regular season, the club announced the hiring of Jim Nill as the team's general manager, replacing Joe Nieuwendyk. Coach Glen Gulutzan was subsequently fired, and Nill is continuing to search for his replacement.
The Stars have two first-round picks in the draft, to be held June 30 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. In addition to holding the 10th pick, the team acquired the Boston Bruins' first-round pick (now either No. 29 or 30) when they traded Jaromir Jagr.