Aug 12, 2013, 4:07 PM EST
Back in June, a few eyebrows were raised when the Dallas Stars acquired the rights to veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar from the Ottawa Senators and subsequently signed the 39-year-old to a two-year deal worth US$10 million.
It was an aggressive move for a player on his last NHL legs, but new Stars general manager Jim Nill thinks it will pay off in a big way.
“Another piece to the puzzle, and he’s kind of the forgotten man, is Sergei Gonchar,” Nill told NHL.com. “I think he’s really going to solidify our defense. He gives us a dimension we don’t have a lot of. We have a couple of power-play guys (like Alex Goligoski), but not as high-end as Sergei.”
Nill also believes Gonchar will prove a great mentor for some of the young Stars.
“The young kids need a veteran presence,” said Nill. “Now you have that presence in the dressing room that you need. I come from a situation in Detroit where you can never have enough veterans. They know how to win. It’s a lifestyle every day of what you have to do to win. I know these veterans are going to bring that to the young kids that we have, which down the road will pay dividends for us.”
Gonchar won a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009. In Dallas, he joins a club that could surprise some people in 2013-14. The Stars have a good mix of young talent (Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Brenden Dillon) and veterans (Gonchar, Ray Whitney, Erik Cole, and Shawn Horcoff), plus they’ve got a capable goalie in Kari Lehtonen.
- Video: Team Foligno survives shootout, wins Skills Competition 0
- Video: Weber wins hardest shot with 108.5 mph blast 4
- Video: Lightning’s Drouin wins fastest skater 7
- WATCH LIVE: NHL All-Star Skills Competition 1
- Will the Youngstars even have a chance? (Updated) 10
- Unique World Cup format allows ‘more of the very best players’ to participate 10
- NHL unveils 2016 Winter Classic, Stadium Series games 16
- Players have fun, show off personalities in water-fueled All-Star Fantasy Draft 9
- Video: ‘Coachable’ Kessel goes from last pick to 2nd overall 5
- Video: Team Foligno takes Ryan Johansen first overall in All-Star Fantasy Draft 1
- Columnist: Flyers ‘orchestrated’ fight night versus Pens during meal at ‘a local steakhouse’ (130)
- Flyers’ Rinaldo: ‘I changed the whole game, man’ (112)
- Video: Rinaldo tossed for boarding Letang (79)
- Metro sensational: Rangers continue dominance of division, Pens (61)
- Report: Flyers’ Rinaldo waives right to an in-person hearing (61)