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Gonchar had seven points in his first season (31 games played) and showed huge potential, as he transferred smoothly to the North American style of hockey. He broke out as a top-notch offensive defenseman in his second season and followed that up with several seasons of high offensive production, including six straight seasons of 30 or more points. Despite his immense talent, Gonchar never won a Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman; the closest he ever got was finishing fourth in voting three times.
Overall, Gonchar was an offensively skilled defenseman with an excellent eye for the game. A good skater with good stickhandling. Had a good opening pass and was generally a good passer. He was a lethal weapon on the power play, a world class player and also played sound defense. With a devastating wrist shot and smooth skating skills, he liked to shoot from the blue line, but he was never very physical player.
Gonchar is a two-time Olympic medal-winner with Russia. He earned a silver medal at the 1998 Olympic Games and a bronze medal at the 2002 Olympic Games. In addition, Gonchar also competed in the 1993 World Junior Championship, two World Cups and three World Championships.
Nephew: Mikhail Gonchar