The Dallas Stars have officially signed veteran defenseman, Sergei Gonchar, to a 2-year, $10M contract which will bring the 39 year old Russian to Dallas starting this fall.
Gonchar, who spent the last 3 seasons in Ottawa, is 6’2”, 206-pounds and leads all active NHL defensemen in points (775), assists (558) and games played (1177). This past April, Gonchar surpassed another Sergei who is near and dear to Stars fans; Sergei Zubov in total points scored by a Russian defenseman. However, hold off on the comparisons. Zubov will always be one of the (if not the most) complete defenseman to play the game. Gonchar brings a substantial amount of firepower from the blue line and some grit as well, as he amassed 101 penalty minutes with his 3 years in Ottawa.
Below is the press release from the Stars along with a quote from General Manager, Jim Nill about Gonchar’s anticipated impact. Much of what was written about Sergei this past weekend holds true, but I felt it was important to stress the fact that it’s pretty obvious that Gonchar wanted to come to Dallas. Reports were he had a very lucrative deal sitting in Russia waiting for him. On top of having a no-trade clause built into his deal with the Senators, Gonchar had to approve this move in order for Dallas to negotiate a new deal. In addition, per Darren Dreger, JP Barry, who is Gonchar’s agent, was given permission by the Senators to find a team that Sergei would agree to go to. When you combine all the facts of a no-trade clause with a huge contract in his home country, if Sergei didn’t feel he’d be a fit into the Stars plans, we most likely wouldn’t have been discussing this situation in the first place as he wouldn’t have signed off on the trading of his bargaining rights.
I’ve always said when it comes to veteran players, I want to see the players who may have a little less in terms of talent (or in Gonchar’s case, a little less in the tank) in exchange for someone who has a desire to play here. That is a player who will not only contribute on the scoring sheet, but will go the extra mile to help out the young talent that the organization is about to start cycling through here.
FRISCO, Texas - The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has signed defenseman Sergei Gonchar to a two-year, $10 million ($5 million per season) contract through the 2014-15 season.
"Sergei is a high-end offensive defenseman who can quarterback a power play and help generate offense from the blue line," Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill said. "Sergei has had an impressive NHL career and has been a big contributor to Ottawa's offense over the last three seasons. We are excited to see him continue his career here in Dallas the next two years."
The 6-foot-2, 206-pound blueliner from Chelyabinsk, Russia spent the last three seasons with the Ottawa Senators, appearing in 186 games and posting 91 points (15G-76A) with 101 penalty minutes. Amongst NHL defensemen in 2012-13, Gonchar was tied for fifth in assists (24) and shared 12th in points (27). He led Ottawa defensemen in scoring and ranked second on the team with 27 points (3G-24A) and first on the club in total assists.
Gonchar, 39, ranks first in points (775), assists (558) and second in games played (1,177) among active NHL defensemen. He also ranks first in postseason points (90), assists (68) and tied for first in games played (135) amongst active defensemen. Gonchar notched his 772nd career point on April 16, 2013 against the Carolina Hurricanes to surpass former Dallas Stars defenseman Sergei Zubov for the all-time points lead amongst Russian defensemen.
Originally selected in the first round (14th overall) in the 1992 NHL Draft by the Washington Capitals, Gonchar has skated for four different teams (Washington, Boston, Pittsburgh, Ottawa) over the course of his 18 seasons in the NHL and won a Stanley Cup in 2009 with the Penguins. He has appeared in four All-Star Games (2001, 2002, 2003, 2008) and was named to the NHL All-Star Second Team in 2001 and 2003.
Gonchar led Team Russia to a silver medal at the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano and a bronze medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. He also helped Russia to a bronze medal at the 2007 World Championships and a silver medal in 2010.