With Alexei Emelin and Tom Gilbert playing pretty badly this year according to possession stats, it’s easy to think that this move is a really important one for the Canadiens. Maybe I’m biased (OK, I am), but I don’t see it. Sergei Gonchar is going to turn 41 later in the year, and he’s not the guy he used to be, obviously.
But I’m having trouble figuring this one out. From the Stars’ perspective, it pretty much makes sense, because they’re dumping $4.6 million out of Gonchar’s $5 million owed this year (they ate $400,000, according to capgeek). But Travis Moen, who they got back in the deal, makes $1.85 million this year and next. For this year, they get back a lot of cap space, but next year they lose some. And, while they will have over $30 million in cap space, they have a lot of UFAs, so they’re gonna have to spend it wisely. The Stars might use the extra space to get someone else this year, but it could wind up not being enough to get them into the Western Conference race.
At most, Gonchar is a power play specialist for the Canadiens. In 2010, they had Marc-Andre Bergeron on the roster for the sole reason that he could run the power play. With guys like Bergeron, Subban, and Markov, the Frenchies like having those kinds of guys. I wouldn’t be surprised if Gonchar was the same kind of deal. But they’re probably gonna try to use him for something, because they wouldn’t give up this much cap space this year for absolutely nothing. That doesn’t mean the deal makes much sense, though.