Penguins Sign Sergei Gonchar to Tryout Contract

The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar to a professional try-out contract, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi.

The deal will bring the 41-year-old defender to camp in September to vie for a contract on a team that has a lot of money invested in forward talent. Gonchar, according to Rossi, is the “best friend” of center Evgeni Malkin, as well as having a relationship with team captain Sidney Crosby, with both praising his presence and leadership abilities. That relationship stems from the five seasons Gonchar spent in the organization from 2005-2010.

While Gonchar’s game has declined significantly in recent years, he remains a player with a strong power play game, which could help Pittsburgh run two deep, dangerous power play units, particularly because of the addition of Phil Kessel this summer.

Gonchar started last season with the Dallas Stars and wasn’t getting many games until he was traded to the Montreal Canadiens. He played 48 games, scoring a goal and 13 assists. He was a -3% score-adjusted CF%Rel last year and a -2.1% the prior season. Both of those were posted while getting positive relative zone starts and not always lining up against the stiffest competition (49.9% score-adjusted CorC% last year, 49.5% the year before).

Gonchar has played 1,301 regular season NHL games with 220 goals and 591 assists. He has an additional 141 playoff games to his name as well.

The team has officially announced the signing.

Lots of familiar names are taking PTOs this season. Keep up with all the tryout contracts with The Hockey Writers’ 2015 PTO Tracker.

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Advanced stats via War on Ice.