Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Sergei Gonchar
After a season with Traktor in Chelyabinsk as a 16-year old, Sergei Gonchar moved to Dynamo Moscow. In those days, the amiable scoring defenseman was often involved in fist fighting on the ice. Most often his opponent was Alexander Selivanov of Spartak Moscow and he almost never joined in the team's offensive rushes.

Watching Gonchar play, the first thing you notice is his powerful wrist shot. Often you don't even see the puck flying through the air; you only spot it when it's already in the net. He didn't have such a powerful shot playing back in Russia. Gonchar transferred smoothly to the North American style of hockey. In a way, he was lucky that his first season was 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. He perfected his English and started learning the North American playing style.

In the second half of the season, Gonchar was called up to the regular team but was slow to get accustomed to his new milieu. At first he communicated only in Russian with Dmitri Khristich and Peter Bondra (a Slovak who spent the first 14 years of his life in the Ukrainian city of Lutsk and 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 defenseman to score over 20 goals in regular-season play. Gonchar his regarded as one of the most offensive defenceman in the NHL and proved it 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 once the regular season ended he was the league leader amongst defenseman with 58 points (11-47-58) before being acquired by the Pittsburgh Penguins during the summer of 2005.

On the international stage, Gonchar has gone on to represent his homeland at the World Junior Championship (1993), the World Championship (2000), the World Cup of Hockey (1996-2004) and the Winter Olympics (2002, 2006).

Despite injuring his knee in the Eastern Conference semi-final, Gonchar would return to the Penguins lineup to help them win the franchise's third Stanley Cup title in June of 2009.

On July 1, 2010, Gonchar would leave Pittsburgh for Ottawa, signing a three-year deal as an unrestricted free agent.

On June 7, 2013, Gonchar would see himself traded to the Dallas Stars for a conditional six-round draft pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. One day later, he signed a two-year, $10 million contract with the Stars.


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
NHL Totals 1253 219 578 797 963 141 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 choices in 2004 Entry 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 choice (Chris LeBlanc) in 2013 Entry Draft, June 7, 2013.