It’s purely speculation on our part, but if Sergei Gonchar continues to play like he has, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Dallas Stars buy out his contract over the summer with one of their compliance options. They traded for and then signed the rapidly aging blueliner to a two-year deal worth $10 million.
At this point, Gonchar has been so ineffective that it might actually be better to pay him to sit around and do nothing the rest of the year, then hand him his walking papers in July.
The Stars won’t scratch him simply because he’s been good before and they’ll continue to hope that (for whatever reason) he’ll suddenly start playing like it’s 2006 again. If they did shut him down for the rest of the year and then bought him out, Gonchar could set a new league record for most expensive assist ever.
Since that’s all that Gonchar has produced up to this point in Dallas. One assist.
At 39, it’s unlikely that the defender suddenly unlocks some key to his game. There’s no issue here besides age and the wear and tear of a 1,189 game NHL career finally doing enough damage to slow him down. Gonchar isn’t of that opinion though. He spoke to Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News about his slow start yesterday:
It has happened to me with other teams, and it’s something I have done before. I don’t want it to be that way, but I know I get better as the year goes on. I want to be better now and help the team win now, but I also know I will get better.
We’ll see. Getting better is one thing. Only appearing better when you’re compared to awful is another thing altogether.