Whenever the National Hockey League returns – and make no mistake it will eventually return – the Pittsburgh Penguins are interested in bringing back defenseman Sergei Gonchar, according to Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Gonchar is still under contract with the Ottawa Senators, with one season remaining on a contract that carries a $5.5 million salary cap hit, so any move will have to be done by trade if there will be a season this year. If there isn’t then Gonchar will be a free agent next summer and the Penguins will have a chance to sign him without giving anything up, but it is clearly noticeable that the Penguins have missed Gonchar’s veteran leadership skills on the blue line and in the locker room.
Everyone knows of the close relationship that Gonchar has with Penguins superstar Evgeni Malkin. And it is not a coincidence that Gonchar is currently playing for the Magnitogorsk Metallurg of the KHL, the same team Malkin is playing on.
The Penguins have been looking to upgrade the blue line since the awful ending last season to the Philadelphia Flyers. Gonchar is a proven player, winning a Stanley Cup in 2009 with the Penguins, and with Gonchar the Penguins will be getting some offense on the back end.
Gonchar might not be the same player, as he is approaching 40 years of age and shows signs of slowing down, but he still added 37 points (5 goals and 32 assists) in 74 games with the Senators last year.
Whether it is this year or next year, seeing No. 55 back in the black and gold bringing the puck up the ice on the power play would be a welcome sight.