After a bitterly disappointing 2010-11 season, and earning in excess of $5million per season, a bounce-back was expected, and demanded from the veteran defenseman. Quality minutes and offensive contribution would be the determining factors when quantifying his successes.
Gonchar got off to a good start, notching 9 points in his first 11 games, including a 5 game assist streak at the end of October. He had another 5 game point streak (and 8 pts in 8 games) in late November) to account for much of his scoring. He did add a goal and 3 assists in the 7 game playoff loss to the Rangers. He finished just outside the top 20 in defenseman scoring.
Although his numbers were improved from the previous season, they still fell below what I think the Sens expected when signing him two summers ago. Playing second fiddle on the power play hurt his offensive output, but he often failed to get the job done when given the opportunity.
Gonchar tied a career low for a full season with 5 goals, and added 32 assists. His 37 points was an increase of 10 from the previous season, but still far from the 50+ points he had been putting up in Pittsburgh before coming to Ottawa.
Based on his contract and the expectations and reputation you would expect more from Gonchar. That being said, his play was significantly better overall than the previous season. The Grade I award Sergei Gonchar for the 2011-12 season is: