I would be disappointed with a multi-year deal. Gonchar is playing above his head right now his production will also slow with age. One year would be acceptable.
However, Weircotch and Gryba have proven to be NHL players and I would not like to see them get squeezed out for too much longer. The whole "Gonchar should mentor Wiercioch" argument doesn't hold water for me. He has benefited from Luke Richardson, Gonchar and Karlsson, Its not like he is going to tutoring classes.
I'm going to be hated for saying this, but I think part of Gonchar's offensive success actually comes from being paired with Wiercioch. That assist streak he went on was also due to Wiercioch playing very well for a while. But as a rookie he's inconsistent, so when he slowed down so did Gonchar.
In the meantime of course Gonchar has been pretty solid defensively, and so of course he provides value as the complete package. I'm just saying that he owes a big part of his offensive numbers to Wiercioch (and not necessarily the other way around). At least that's what I saw.
I'm sure it has been considered. At this point however, it's a monumental and unnecessary gamble given our budget and cap space.
For one, we haven't seen Wiercioch a lot on the offside, so it's hard to project him there as an NHL regular. Then, even if he plays well, we'd be potentially moving him back to the lefthand side again next season if Phillips retires.
Secondly, there's the "pairing" problems. Virtually every combination of defensemen (Methot-Karlsson, Cowen-Gryba, Phillips-Wiercioch), (Cowen-Karlsson, Methot-Gryba, Phillips Wiercioch), (Methot-Karlsson, Phillips-Gryba, Cowen-Wiericicoh) has some significant downside given the lack of experience on the defensive side. Cowen, Gryba, and Wiercioch don't have 200 NHL games between them. A right hand shot 2nd pairing guy like Ian White could really help.
Thirdly, there's the issue of depth. Playing Wiercioch as a regular defenseman is fine, until there's an injury. At which time we remember that our success this year came from having Lundin, Wiercioch, Gryba, Borowicki, Benoit, etc.. as backups for a single position before the season even started. Assuming we allow Wiercioch to take Gonchar's minutes, who do we have as his backup and is that person ready to play 20 minutes a night?
Lundin/Benoit might be expecting more playing time than the Senators can offer and we'd be a lot thinner on the back end if they leave, having Wiercioch and Borowicki as a 7th/8th defenseman isn't the worst thing in the world if we can find a way to retain Gonchar or sign a quality short term replacement.
Forth, and most important, for once we have the budget space to sign someone. With so many players on bargain contracts we can fill the roster next season for something close to the cap minimum. For those keeping score, this is likely the worst roster the Senators will start next season with:
Greening - Spezza - Michalek
Conacher - Zibanejad - Silfverberg
Pageau/Hoffman - Turris - Condra
Kassian - Smith - Neil
My guess is that Murray will offer Gonchar a one yr contract for less money & Gonchar will walk just like Kuba did. While he could help the Sens at his age he could also digress rapidly, he is already slow as molasses. I think Wiercioch replaces him in the lineup to play with either Gryba or Phillips who would have to move to the right side. Ceci could eventually end up there since he is a right shot depending on how long it takes him to develop. Let's not forget that Rutkowski (a right shot) will also be playing in Bingo next yr & could be available as a call up too, he is having a pretty good playoffs so far for Portland this yr. Wiercioch in the lineup gives Ottawa much more speed & a little more size on defence, while they will miss Gonchar's experience, mentoring & smarts. I think it's time to move on from Gonchar but he has been good this season. They will still have Phillips & Methot on defence for leadership, mentoring & advise.
There's no reason to low-ball Gonchar; we have cap space galore, as long as we don't tie it up long term. Offer him a 1 year contract for enough money that he'll take it. Next year it's off the books and players who need raises can get them.