Senators sign veteran Gonchar to three-year deal

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Ottawa Senators have signed veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar to a three-year deal, the NHL team said on Thursday as the free agent market opened.

The 36-year-old Russian, a first round draft pick of the Washington Capitals in 1992, spent the past five seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2009.

Gonchar was third in scoring on the Penguins last season -- trailing only Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, -- and led all Pittsburgh defenseman with 11 goals and 39 assists.

He joins an Ottawa team that has not been able to advance beyond the first-round of the playoffs since it lost to the Anaheim Ducks in the 2007 Stanley Cup finals.

(Writing by Julian Linden in New York, Editing by Frank Pingue)