Sergei Gonchar has joined the Pittsburgh Penguins’ coaching staff as defensemen development coach, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
In his new role, Gonchar will work with Pittsburgh’s defensemen at the NHL level and throughout the Penguins’ system. He will also scout European tournaments on behalf of the team.
Gonchar, 41, enjoyed a stellar 20-year NHL career that saw him record 811 regular-season points (220G-591A), the most among Russian-born blueliners in NHL history.
The Chelyabinsk, Russia native spent some of his best seasons in Pittsburgh from 2005-10, helping lead the Penguins to a Stanley Cup championship in 2009 and a Cup Final appearance in ’08.
In 322 career regular-season games with Pittsburgh, Gonchar totaled 54 goals, 205 assists and 259 points, the sixth-highest point total among defensemen in franchise history. Only Larry Murphy and Kris Letang have amassed more postseason points than Gonchar’s 44 (7G-37A).
During his final four seasons with Pittsburgh, Gonchar served as one of the club’s alternate captains.
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).
Gonchar skated in 1,301 career NHL games with Washington, Boston, Pittsburgh, Ottawa, Dallas and Montreal. His games played total ranks 17th in NHL history among defensemen. He had 90 points (22G-68A) in 141 playoff games.
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.
He 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 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.