Sergei Gonchar might be on the trading block

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The Ottawa Senators have some money to hand out this summer. Erik Karlsson is a restricted free agent in need of a long-term deal with a likely hefty payday. His defense partner Filip Kuba is an unrestricted free agent and held the key to Karlsson’s break out season.

Sens GM Bryan Murray is looking at potentially having to grossly inflate the amount of money he’s spending on defense and Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen says Murray is looking at moving one high-paid, big name defender to help ease the pain in Sergei Gonchar.

Expect Murray to be aggressively selling Gonchar in advance of the NHL entry draft on June 22-23. It’s unlikely a team will take that gamble, but if the Senators are successful in somehow moving him, the return won’t be big: the benefit for the Senators in any such deal is moving the salary.

Gonchar’s cap hit is $5.5 million for next season, but he’s one of just three defensemen under contract for Ottawa next season (Chris Phillips and Jared Cowen the others). Cap space isn’t shaping up to be a major issue for Ottawa, but with Gonchar on the final year of his contract, he could be viewed as a helpful player for a team in need of an added piece to their puzzle.