Gonchar in January 2015 with the Montreal Canadiens
April 13, 1974 |
Chelyabinsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
|Height||6 ft 2 in (188 cm)|
|Weight||210 lb (95 kg; 15 st 0 lb)|
|NHL Draft||14th overall, 1992
Sergei Viktorovich Gonchar (Russian: Серге́й Ви́кторович Гонча́р; IPA: [sʲɪrˈɡʲej ˈvʲiktərəvʲɪtɕ ɡɐnˈtɕar]; born April 13, 1974) is a Russian professional ice hockey playern currently playing for the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League (NHL). He has also played for the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins (with whom he won the Stanley Cup in 2009), Ottawa Senators and Dallas Stars.
Gonchar was the first round pick, 14th overall, of the Washington Capitals in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. He began his North American career in 1994, suiting up in two playoff games for the Capitals' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Portland Pirates. He continued with Portland in 1994–95 before making his NHL debut with the Capitals on February 7, 1995, against the Buffalo Sabres. He would appear in 31 games total during the lockout-shortened 1994–95 season. The following year, in his first full-length campaign in the NHL, Gonchar would tally 41 points, showing his potential as an effective offensive defenceman.
In the 1998–99 season, Gonchar became the first Russian defenceman to score over 20 goals in the regular season. The following season, Gonchar would break the 50-point mark for the first time in his career. He would also finish in fifth place in Norris Trophy voting as the NHL's best defenceman.
On March 3, 2004, in his tenth season with the Capitals, Gonchar was traded to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Shaone Morrisonn and two draft picks. Finishing the season with Boston, he would tally 58 points, leading all NHL defencemen. Between 2000 and 2004, Gonchar recorded more points than any other defenceman, with 74 goals and 241 points. 
During the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Gonchar returned to Russia to play for Metallurg Magnitogorsk, where he played with future Pittsburgh Penguins teammates Petr Sýkora and Evgeni Malkin. After the lockout, Gonchar signed a five-year, $25 million deal with the Penguins on August 4, 2005. In 2006–07, his second season with Pittsburgh, Gonchar tied a career-high with 67 points. In addition to his on-ice duties for the Penguins, Gonchar housed rookie Evgeni Malkin when he first arrived from Russia in October 2006.
The following season, Gonchar helped lead the Penguins, with offensive superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, to the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals, the franchise's first finals appearance since 1992. After a 65-point regular season (the eighth 50-plus point season of his career), Gonchar added 14 points in 20 playoff games as the Penguins eventually lost in the Finals to the Detroit Red Wings. Gonchar placed fourth in Norris Trophy voting, tying his best-ever placing for the League's best defenceman.
During the first game of the 2008–09 pre-season, Gonchar was hit into the boards by David Kočí in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, dislocating his shoulder. It was reported that he would miss four-to-six months after opting for arthroscopic surgery. While both Gonchar and defensive partner Brooks Orpik claimed the hit was late, well after Gonchar had completed a pass, it was asserted by Penguins Head Coach Michel Therrien as a clean hit and that Kočí had simply "finished his check." With the Penguins struggling to make the playoffs, Gonchar returned to play his first game of the season on February 14, 2009, against the Toronto Maple Leafs after being sidelined for 21 weeks. He played in the final 25 games of the regular season and tallied 19 points, helping the Penguins into the 2009 playoffs as the Eastern Conference's fourth seed. However, playing in Game 4 of the Conference Semi-finals against the Washington Capitals, Gonchar suffered a serious knee injury. Despite being initially expected to be out for several weeks and possibly the remainder of the playoffs, Gonchar returned for Game 7 of the series. Gonchar and the Penguins went on to win the Stanley Cup in seven games, facing the Detroit Red Wings for the second consecutive year. After winning, he revealed he had been playing with a partially torn medial collateral ligament (MCL).
Gonchar was sidelined with injuries again for a total of 20 games in the 2009–10 season. Despite missing time, he went on to record his ninth 50-point season in the past 10 seasons, besting Nicklas Lidström's eight. He also had his 11th season with ten goals or more, tying Sergei Zubov for the most 10+ goal seasons among Russian defencemen. Gonchar finished the season third in points-per-game average among defencemen (behind Norris Trophy nominees Mike Green and Duncan Keith). He set an NHL record on March 2, 2010, by scoring his 200th NHL goal, making him the first Russian defenceman to ever do so in the NHL.
From the 2000–01 season to the 2009–10 season, Gonchar tallied exactly 500 points, which was second among NHL defencemen only to Nicklas Lidström's 550 points. Gonchar was also second among NHL defencemen in assists during that span with 372 assists, behind Lidström's 434 assists. However, he led the League in goals by a defenceman during that span, with 128. Rob Blake was second with 119 goals, while Lidström had 116 goals. Gonchar would actually lead the NHL in points-per-game average among NHL defencemen during that span, scoring at 0.80 points per game to Lidström's 0.76 points per game. He would also lead the League in goals created per game among NHL defencemen with 0.27 to Al MacInnis's 0.26 and Lidström's 0.25. In fact, since his first NHL season in 1995, only Lidström has scored more points among defencemen — Lidström tallied 889 points in that time, while Gonchar tallied 684 points. Scott Niedermayer was third with 653 points.
On July 1, 2010, Gonchar signed a three-year, $16 million contract with the Ottawa Senators. The deal included a no-trade clause. During the 2012–13 NHL lockout, Gonchar returned to his native Russia to play with the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL)'s Metallurg Magnitogorsk. He was traded on June 7, 2013, to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a conditional sixth-round pick in 2013. On June 8, 2013, Gonchar signed a two-year, $10 million contract with the Stars. The following year, on November 11, 2014, Gonchar was again traded, this time to the Montreal Canadiens for left wing Travis Moen.
|Olympic medal record|
|Men's ice hockey|
|2002 Salt Lake City|
Gonchar is a two-time Olympic medal-winner with Russia. He earned a silver medal at the 1998 Games and a bronze medal at the 2002 Games. Gonchar met his future wife, Xenia Smetanenko, then a figure skater for Armenia, at the 1998 Nagano Olympic games.
- Played in the NHL All-Star Game in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2008
- Named to the NHL Second All-Star Team in 2001 and 2003
- Won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009.
Regular season and playoffs
- Sergei Gonchar bio at pittsburghpenguins.com
- "Legends of Hockey". HHOF.
- National Hockey League. The Official 2001 NHL Yearbook. Toronto: Worldsport Properties. p. 252. ISSN 1196-8346.
- "Player Season Finder". Hockey-Reference.com. Retrieved 2008-11-18.
- "Gonchar signs 5-year, $25 million deal". ESPN. Retrieved 2008-09-29.
- "Malkin's landlord also his teammate".
- "Gonchar to undergo Shoulder Surgery, out 4-6 Months". TSN. 2008-09-29. Retrieved 2008-09-29.
- Molinari, Dave (2008-10-11). "Penguins Notebook: Gonchar says shoulder injury came on late hit". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-10-11.
- "Gonchar injured in exhibition". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2008-10-11.
- "Pens Defenceman to Miss Weeks; Perhaps the Rest of Season". TSN. 2009-05-09. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
- "Penguins defenceman Gonchar back in lineup for Game 7". TSN. 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
- "Pens' Gonchar played hurt". Philadelphia Inquirer. 2009-06-15. Retrieved 2009-06-15.[dead link]
- "Player Season Finder".
- "Player Season Finder".
- "Stars sign Gonchar to two-year contract". National Hockey League. 2013-06-07. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
- "Canadiens trade Moen to Dallas Stars, get Sergei Gonchar". CTV News. 2014-11-11. Retrieved 2014-11-11.
|Washington Capitals first round draft pick