Another big name signing for the Pens:
The Pittsburgh Penguins promised to return to the new-look NHL by adding big-name players, not shedding them to cut payroll. The first name on their list: Sergei Gonchar.
Gonchar, the NHL’s top goal-scoring defenseman over the last six seasons, agreed Wednesday to a $25 million, five-year contract — the Penguins’ first big-ticket signing in eight years.
With No. 1 draft pick Sidney Crosby on the way, an NHL salary cap in place and the twice-bankrupt franchise now on better financial footing, general manager Craig Patrick predicted 10 days ago the Penguins would be active in free agency.
Gonchar would seem to be a perfect fit for a team that plans to rebuild what once was the NHL’s highest-scoring offense now that the league plans to enforce obstruction rules and encourage offense.
Could be a big year.