The team announced Tuesday that Gonchar will join the Penguins as a defencemen development coach, working with both NHL-level players and those throughout the system. He will also scout European tournaments on behalf of the team.
The 20-year NHL veteran was cut by the Penguins on October 3 after signing a tryout contract during training camp. The 41-year-old played with the Penguins from 2005-05 to 2009-10, helping them to a Stanley Cup Final in 2008 and a Cup victory in 2009.
Gonchar has not officially announced his retirement.
“It’s a start,” Gonchar told TribLIVE. “I just want to start somewhere with the next part of my career in hockey. It’s not like I know what I want to do. This is a start. It’s a good chance for me.
“I’d like to bring some of my knowledge, probably the little things that can help (defencemen) here and there: positioning yourself, patience, those things you figure out when you get older,” he said.
Defending and transitioning the puck has been a bit of an issue for the Penguins to start this season, though they have allowed just 16 goals in eight games. The loss of Simon Depres to trade and the inability of Derrick Pouliot – drafted 8th overall in 2012 – to become a permanent fixture on the roster has raised some questions about the team’s defence at a time when their top-six is loaded with talent.
The Penguins have scored just 13 goals so far this season.
Gonchar will make his reports to both general manger Jim Rutherford and the coaching staff, according to TribLIVE.
“My wife is excited,” Gonchar said. “I’m not sure if it’s because I got a job or because I’ll be home. I’ll have to ask her. Obviously, she and the kids realize I have to work.”