Alex Ponikarovsky Signs With Los Angeles Kings
The Los Angeles Kings have announced that long-time Toronto Maple Leaf turned Pittsburgh Penguins rental player at last years trade deadline, Alex Ponikarovsky, has signed a one-year contract worth a reported $3 million.
Ponikarovsky, who was originally drafted in the fourth round (87th overall) in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, stands 6’4” and weighs in at 220 pounds.
Through parts of eight seasons with the Leafs and 16 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins at the tail end of the 2009-10 season, Ponikarovsky amassed a total of 116 goals and 266 points in 493 career NHL games.
Last season Ponikarovsky scored a total of 21 goals and registered 50 points through 77 games split with the Leafs and Penguins.
Ponikarovsky has been a consistent 20 goal player for five seasons now, scoring 21 in 2005-06, 21 in 2006-07, 18 in 2007-08, 23 in 2008-09 and 21 in 2009-10.
In his early years Ponikarovsky was known as an average skater with little to no jam in the corners. More recently, Ponikarovsky has demonstrated an increase compete level and has improved his skating abilities.
For the Kings, Ponikarovsky adds some depth to an already offensively explosive lineup, but it does not make up for the loss of Ilya Kovalchuk (who is currently battling the NHL over his contract with the New Jersey Devils).
While not a “Gucci” signing, Ponikarovsky is a serviceable player who brings experience and should score 20 goals and post as many as fifty points as a King.
Given the fact that Ponikarovsky came at a bargain basement price and was only awarded a one year deal the Kings have assumed very little risk.
After being traded out of Toronto for Penguins prospect Luca Caputi, Ponikarovsky failed to gel with the Pittsburgh Penguins and had what can only be called a terrible Stanley Cup Playoff, scoring just one goal in 11 games while posting four assists.
The Kings are hoping Pony can fit in on the second and third lines and that he replaces most of the scoring that came with the recently departed Alexander Frolov, who signed a one –year deal worth $3 million with the New York Rangers on Tuesday.
Frolov, known as a highly skilled, yet underachieving player, scored 19 goals and registered a total of 51 points with the Kings last season.
The Kings may not be done signing UFA’s. Another forward signing is not out of the question and, given their depth in the prospect department, a trade for a legitimate top six forward could evolve as well.
Until next time,