The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed defenseman Sergei Gonchar to a professional tryout contract, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
Gonchar, 41, originally spent five seasons in Pittsburgh from 2005-10, helping the team win its third Stanley Cup championship in 2009 and also make a Cup Final appearance in ’08. During the ’09 championship run, he contributed 14 points (3G-11A) and was plus-3 in 22 playoff contests.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound defenseman is currently the sixth-highest scoring blueliner in Penguins history, having compiled 54 goals, 205 assists and 259 points in 322 regular-season games. Gonchar has added 44 points (7G-37A) in 60 playoff games. Only Larry Murphy and Kris Letang have more postseason points in club history.
A native of Chelyabinsk, Russia, Gonchar surpassed the 50-point mark in each of his four full seasons in Pittsburgh (he was hurt for a majority of the ’08-09 regular season). He was selected to the NHL All-Star Game in 2008 when he ranked second among NHL D-men with 65 points (12G-53A).
During his final four seasons with Pittsburgh, Gonchar served as one of the club’s alternate captains.
Gonchar has skated in 1,301 career NHL games with Washington, Boston, Pittsburgh, Ottawa, Dallas and Montreal, compiling 220 goals, 591 assists and 811 points. He has 90 points (22G-68A) in 141 playoff games.
Gonchar’s 811 points lead all active NHL defensemen, while his 1,301 games place fifth. He currently ranks 17th all-time among NHL blueliners in both assists and points.
Gonchar originally broke into the NHL with the Washington Capitals during the 1994-95 season after being selected by the club in the first round (14th overall) in the 1992 NHL Draft.
During back-to-back seasons with the Capitals in ’01-02 and ’02-03, Gonchar led all NHL defensemen in goals with 26 and 18, respectively. His 59 points in ’01-02 also paced all D-men. He earned NHL Second-Team All-Star status both years.
Last season, Gonchar began the year in Dallas before spending a majority of the campaign with Montreal. He had 14 points (1G-13A) in 48 games.
The Russia native has represented his country on numerous occasions internationally, including four Olympic Games. He won a silver medal in the ’98 Games and a bronze in ’02.
Gonchar has also won a silver medal at the 2010 World Championship and a bronze medal in the ’07 World Championship. He also suited up in the 1996 and 2004 World Cup of Hockey.