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Reviewing Sergei Gonchar's Hockey Hall of Fame qualifications

A look at the case for Sergei Gonchar and the Hockey Hall of Fame. Does his career have enough to get him in the hall?

Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Now that the Pittsburgh Penguins have released Sergei Gonchar after he failed to make the team in training camp, a question that came up from Puck Daddy was whether or not Gonchar's career is Hockey Hall of Fame worthy. Interesting case, and to kill some time we'll stack his career accomplishments up. Stats courtesy of hockey-reference.

Sergei Gonchar

Gonchar in preseason action as a Penguin. (USA Today - Charles LeClare)


  • 1,301 NHL regular season games (13th most in league history for defensemen)
  • 220 goals. (16th all-time)
  • 591 assists (17th all-time)
  • 811 points (16th all-time)
  • 102 power play goals (10th all-time)
  • 141 NHL playoff games (22 goals + 90 assists)

The box-cars are pretty encouraging, Gonchar has played a ton of games -- and was a victim of a couple of work stoppages too. He was certainly productive, only 2 defensemen in NHL history have more points that aren't in the hall (Gary Suter and Doug Wilson).

Gonchar also played 190 more games in the KHL and it's predecessors the Russian Superleague and Soviet Championship League and 61 games in the AHL.

Awards and Achievements

  • 4 times an NHL All-Star (2001, 2002, 2003, 2008)
  • 2 times NHL All-Star team [second team] (2001, 2002)
  • 2009 Stanley Cup Champion
  • Olympic Silver Medal (1998)
  • Olympic Bronze Medal (2002)
  • Silver Medalist, World Championships (2010)
  • Bronze Medalist, World Championships (2007)

--He comes up a little short here, overshadowed by other defensemen in his generation like Nick Lidstrom, Brian Leetch, Rob Blake, Chris Pronger, Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer (all in the HOF) who won all the major awards almost every season of Gonchar's prime. Gonchar didn't finish higher than 4th in Norris voting in a season.

Still, an impressive collection of awards and accomplishments over a long career.

Final vote

Unfortunately for Gonchar, his career stat-line matches almost identically to Gary Suter,

  • 1,301 gp, 220g + 591a = 811p for Gonchar with 4 all-stars, 1 Cup, 1 Olympic Silver Medal
  • 1,145gp, 203g + 641 = 844p for Suter with 5 all-stars, 1 Cup, 1 Silver Medal and 1985 Rookie of the Year

Suter isn't in the hall, and that might be the bar that keeps Gonchar out as well.

However, if voters don't punish Gonchar for being such a good power play performer and recognize him as one of the very elite on the PP of his generation, that could sway some consideration.