Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Sergei Gonchar
A standout defender for Traktor Chelyabinsk and later Dynamo Moscow, Sergei Gonchar was selected in the first round of the 1992 NHL Entry Draft by the Washington Capitals. Gonchar transferred smoothly to the North American style of hockey. His first season came during the 1994 NHL lockout. Gonchar had a two-way contract with the Capitals, so he was able to spend the lockout months with Portland of the AHL, the Capitals' farm team.

In the second half of the season, Gonchar was called up to the Capitals, but was slow to get accustomed to his new surroundings. At first he communicated only in Russian with Dmitri Khristich and Peter Bondra (a Slovak who speaks perfect Russian). Eventually, though, he widened his circle.

New Capitals coach Ron Wilson has had an influence on Gonchar's career. Within six months they had gotten to know each other better, and Wilson soon considered Gonchar indispensable to the team. Gonchar's trip to Nagano, Japan, with the Russian Olympic team helped raise his profile. In Nagano he performed well, and back in Washington his star began to shine.

In the 1998-99 season, Gonchar became the first Russian defenceman to score over 20 goals in a season and grew to be regarded as one of the most offensive defenceman in the NHL. He proved that to be true yet again in 2001-02 when he scored 26 goals and finished with a career high 59 points.

The smooth skating defenceman saw the defensive aspect of his game improve in 2002-03, while establishing career highs in assists and points. In 2003-04, Gonchar and the Caps struggled and piece by piece high profile members of the team were traded away. Jaromir Jagr went to the New York Rangers, Peter Bondra to the Ottawa Senators, Robert Lang to the Detroit Red Wings and Sergei Gonchar found a new home with the Boston Bruins.

Upon his arrival in Boston, Gonchar continued to produce offensively and finished the season as the league leader among defenceman with 58 points. The following summer he signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In his second year in Pittsburgh Gonchar would have the most productive season of his career. Appearing in all 82 games he found the back of the net 13 times and added 54 assists for 67.

A shoulder injury suffered in the first pre-season game kept Gonchar out of the Penguins lineup until February during the 2008-09 season. Though limited to just 25 games, Gonchar recorded 19 points and helped Pittsburgh qualify for the playoffs as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins would go to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers before Gonchar suffered a knee injury in the conference semi-final against the Washington Capitals. Despite initially being expected to miss a significant amount of time, Gonchar returned for game seven of the series and would help the Penguins defeat the Capitals and then the Carolina Hurricanes to qualify for the Stanley Cup Final. The Penguins would go on to beat the Detroit Red Wings to capture the franchise's third Stanley Cup title. It was later revealed that Gonchar had been playing with a partially torn medial collateral ligament.

On July 1, 2010, Gonchar would leave Pittsburgh for Ottawa, signing a three-year deal as an unrestricted free agent. He would spend three seasons in the Nation's Capital before finding himself on the move once again. This time traded to the Dallas Stars on June 7, 2013 in exchange for a conditional draft pick. He spent the 2013-14 season with the Stars, registering two goals and 20 assists. Gonchar was traded again the following season. After just three games he was shipped to the Montreal Canadiens where he would complete his NHL career.

On the international stage, Gonchar represented his homeland at the World Junior Championship in 1993, three World Championships, two World Cups and is a two-time Olympic medalist.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1990-91 Mechel Chelyabinsk USSR-2 2 0 0 0 0
1990-91 Traktor Chelyabinsk USSR-Q 11 0 0 0 4
1991-92 Traktor Chelyabinsk CIS 31 1 0 1 6
1991-92 Russia EJC-A 6 1 4 5 8
1992-93 Dynamo Moscow CIS 31 1 3 4 70 10 0 0 0 12
1992-93 Russia WJC-A 7 0 2 2 10
1993-94 Dynamo Moscow CIS 44 4 5 9 36
1993-94 Portland Pirates AHL 2 0 0 0 0
1994-95 Portland Pirates AHL 61 10 32 42 67
1994-95 Washington Capitals NHL 31 2 5 7 22 +4 7 2 2 4 2
1995-96 Washington Capitals NHL 78 15 26 41 60 +25 6 2 4 6 4
1996-97 Russia W-Cup 4 2 2 4 2
1996-97 Washington Capitals NHL 57 13 17 30 36 -11
1997-98 Lada Togliatti Russia 7 3 2 5 4
1997-98 Washington Capitals NHL 72 5 16 21 66 +2 21 7 4 11 30
1997-98 Russia Olympics 6 0 2 2 0
1998-99 Washington Capitals NHL 53 21 10 31 57 +1
1999-00 Washington Capitals NHL 73 18 36 54 52 +26 5 1 0 1 6
1999-00 Russia WC-A 6 1 0 1 2 0
2000-01 Washington Capitals NHL 76 19 38 57 70 +12 6 1 3 4 2
2001-02 Washington Capitals NHL 76 26 33 59 58 -1
2001-02 Russia Olympics 6 0 0 0 2 0
2002-03 Washington Capitals NHL 82 18 49 67 52 +13 6 0 5 5 4
2003-04 Washington Capitals NHL 56 7 42 49 44 -20
2003-04 Boston Bruins NHL 15 4 5 9 12 +6 7 1 4 5 4
2004-05 Russia W-Cup 4 1 2 3 6
2004-05 Metallurg Magnitogorsk Russia 40 2 17 19 54 4 1 1 2 6
2005-06 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 75 12 46 58 100 -13
2005-06 Russia Olympics 8 0 2 2 8 -2
2006-07 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 82 13 54 67 72 -5 5 1 3 4 2
2006-07 Russia WC-A 9 1 4 5 4
2007-08 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 78 12 53 65 66 +13 20 1 13 14 8
2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 25 6 13 19 26 +6 22 3 11 14 12
2009-10 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 62 11 39 50 49 -4 13 2 10 12 4
2009-10 Russia Olympics 4 1 0 1 2 +1
2009-10 Russia WC-A 5 0 4 4 0 +2
2010-11 Ottawa Senators NHL 67 7 20 27 20 -15
2011-12 Ottawa Senators NHL 74 5 32 37 55 -4 7 1 3 4 6
2012-13 Metallurg Magnitogorsk KHL 37 3 26 29 40
2012-13 Ottawa Senators NHL 45 3 24 27 26 +4 10 0 6 6 14
2013-14 Dallas Stars NHL 76 2 20 22 20 -12 6 0 0 0 4
2014-15 Dallas Stars NHL 3 0 1 1 2 -1
2014-15 Montreal Canadiens NHL 45 1 12 13 16 +7
NHL Totals 1301 220 591 811 981 141 22 68 90 102


NHL Second All-Star Team (2002, 2003) Played in NHL All-Star Game (2001, 2002, 2003, 2008) Traded to Boston by Washington for Shaonne Morrisonn and Boston's 1st (Jeff Schultz) and 2nd (Michail Yunkov) round picks in 2004 NHL Draft, March 3, 2004. Signed as a free agent by Magnitogorsk (Russia), September 21, 2004. Signed as a free agent by Pittsburgh, August 3, 2005. Signed as a free agent by Ottawa, July 1, 2010. Signed as a free agent by Magnitogorsk (KHL), September 16, 2012. Traded to Dallas by Ottawa for Dallas' 6th round pick (Chris LeBlanc) in 2013 NHL Draft, June 7, 2013. Traded to Montreal by Dallas for Travis Moen, November 11, 2014.
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