Sure, there is a lot of speculation that Sergei Gonchar will return to the KHL to play for his old team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk (and proof of returning Stalinism Mike Keenan). Those rumors haven't deterred the Dallas Stars from dipping into the deep end of the veteran free agent pool, however. They have traded a conditional 6th round pick to the Ottawa Senators for the rights to Gonchar. If Gonchar doesn't sign, then the Sens don't get the pick. Low risk, potentially high-ish reward for the team which is trying to re-brand itself.
The 39-year-old defenseman is still one of the league's best. As the Stars' press release pointed out:
The 6-foot-2, 206-pound blueliner from Chelyabinsk, Russia spent the last three seasons with the Ottawa Senators, appearing in 186 games and posting 91 points (15G-76A) with 101 penalty minutes. Amongst NHL defensemen in 2012-13, Gonchar was tied for fifth in assists (24) and shared 12th in points (27). He led Ottawa defensemen in scoring and ranked second on the team with 27 points (3G-24A) and first on the club in total assists.
You can't argue with a team wanting that from a player, regardless of how old he is. Gonchar is coming off of a three-year deal that paid him $5,500,000 a year. In Dallas, his deal will be significantly less than that. In the KHL, though? Status quo, presumably. That might make it tougher for the Stars to get a deal worked out.