Inside the Numbers
Over the past 10 years, defenseman Sergei Gonchar has quietly been under the radar. He is rarely mentioned in the same breathe with the likes of a Nik Lidstrom or Scott Niedermayer.
However, when it comes to offensive numbers, the argument can be made that there hasn’t been a better offensive defenseman over a 10 year period (1999-2000 through 2009-2010).
“Offensively speaking, Sergei and Nik have been a step above the rest, ” An Eastern Conference Scout on the condition of anonymity, told Inside Pittsburgh Sports. “The numbers back it up… Sergei consistently ranks right up there with the elite group of D-men in the game, ” the scout said.
From the 1999-2000 season to 2009-2010, Gonchar has tallied 554 points (146G – 408A – +33) in 700 games. 313 of Gonchar’s 554 points have come on the power play.
Among defensemen, Gonchar’s 554 points since 1999-2000, ranks second to Detroit’s Niklas Lidstrom who has recorded 623 points in 800 games.
During that span (1999-2000 through 2009-2010), Gonchar leads all defensemen with 146 goals and points per game (0.79). Lidstrom is second in points per game (0.77).
Gonchar’s goal scoring numbers are impressive in itself. He has an 11 goal advantage over Rob Blake who is second among defensemen with 137 goals. Lidstrom is third with 136 goals.
Gonchar has recorded nine 50+ point seasons in the past 10 seasons, which is first among defensemen. Lidstrom is second, with eight 50+ point seasons since 1999-2000.
The only season Gonchar did not hit the 50+ mark was in 2008-2009 when he only appeared in 25 games. Gonchar has scored 10 or more goals in nine of ten seasons and has recorded 65+ points in three of ten seasons.
Since the lockout, Gonchar has not slowed down offensively. Gonchar recorded 190 points in his first three seasons (2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2007-2008) with the Penguins, including two of three seasons with 65+ points.
In 2009-2010, Gonchar recorded 50 points in 62 games, ranking third among defensemen in points per game.
In four post-seasons (2006-2010) with the Penguins, Gonchar has tallied 44 playoff points in 60 games. He was second on the Penguins with 12 playoff points in 13 games, this past post-season.
In ranking up against some of the truly elite offensive defensemen, Gonchar and Lidstrom have been a step above the rest.
Scott Niedermayer has tallied 463 points in 737 games since the 1999-2000 season. Rob Blake who is second among defensemen in goals during that span, has tallied 454 points in 739 points.
Gonchar entered the National Hockey League in 1995. His 202 goals since 1995 is second among defensemen only to Nik Lidstrom who has scored 209 goals.
“He {Sergei Gonchar} and Lidstrom are in a class of their own, ” a league contact told Inside Pittsburgh Sports, when asked for comment on Gonchar being among the most gifted offensive defensemen over the past 10-12 seasons.
The numbers suggest at least offensively that they are.