After only being vague about his injury earlier today, it’s now clear what Dallas Stars defenseman Sergei Gonchar is dealing with. GM Jim Nill said he’ll miss about three-to-five weeks with a fractured ankle, according to Mark Stepneski of the team website.
This comes on the heels of better news for other Stars players, as it appears that they dodged a bullet with Kari Lehtonen and finally reached a deal with rising blueliner Brenden Dillon.
Frankly, Gonchar’s absence might not be such a blow to the Stars, despite what his $5 million cap hit might indicate. The 40-year-old’s offensive skills seem to be on a steep decline and his possession stats were pretty brutal despite cushy zone starts. It might go too far to say that the Stars are better off without the veteran defenseman … but it’s not out of the question, either.
Still, it’s pretty obvious that defense is the most glaring concern for a Stars team that’s seemingly taking significant strides in becoming a West contender.
It’s common for management to spin an injury as “an opportunity for other players,” but considering the solid crop of young defensive prospects in Dallas’ system, such comments might actually be accurate in this case.