39-year old Sergei Gonchar is a perfect fit for the rebuilding process the Dallas Stars are currently going through.
Despite the fact that he has been able to score only one point in 14 games this season, it’s clear that Gonchar brings a lot to the table off the ice as well.
The Russian veteran is the leader of the defensive group for the Stars. He has a lot of experience, has participated in several playoff runs and he was part of the Pittsburgh Penguins roster that won the Stanley Cup in 2009. He has a proven track record and he puts a lot of grit and hustle in a team that was widely considered as ‘soft’ last season.
Gonchar can also work as a mentor for players that are living their first years in the NHL. Jamie Oleksiak, Brenden Dillon and Kevin Connauton are all 23-years old or younger. Aside from Gonchar and Stephane Robidas, Trevor Daley is the most veteran defender on the Stars roster and he’s only 30. With him being tipped to be a leader after Robidas and Gonchar hang up their skates, he needs to learn as much as he can from one of the most veteran defenseman in the league.
He might not fill the stat sheet in a big way and he might not be a scorer, but Sergei Gonchar does all the little things that rebuilding teams ask for in seasoned veterans. If the Stars are able to have a good season this year, expect the Russian to be a key player down the stretch.