NEWS

Ponikarovsky reacquired from Winnipeg

Wednesday, 02.13.2013 / 8:22 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Ponikarovsky reacquired from Winnipeg
Poni's coming back to the Rock.

On Wednesday, the Devils reacquired Alexei Ponikarovsky from Winnipeg in exchange for a 7th-round pick in 2013 and a 4th-round pick in 2014.

One of the Devils' key performers from last year's run to the Stanley Cup Final is happy to be back.

“I was surprised and excited at the same time,” Ponikarovsky said from Winnipeg on a conference call with reporters. “I know the team, I know the way they play and I think a lot of things we’ve done in the past, it suits me. It’s one of those things; I can’t control the trade and other things, the only thing I can do is come out and play the way I played before.”

The 6-4, 225-lb. left wing will prepare for his second stint in New Jersey. He tallied seven goals and 11 assists in 33 games with the Devils last season after being acquired from Carolina on Jan. 20, 2012, for defenseman Joe Sova and a 4th round choice (Jaccob Slavin) in 2012.

Ponikarovsky scored in his Devils debut on Jan. 21, 2012 against Philadelphia and proved clutch in the playoffs. He notched the overtime winner versus the Flyers in Game 3 of the conference semifinals, and assisted on Adam Henrique's overtime goals that eliminated the Panthers (in 2OT) and Rangers.

“Obviously there’s a few (good memories),” Ponikarovsky said. “We went to the Stanley Cup Final. That’s the pretty important one in my mind. The way we played and everybody contributed, and everybody sacrificed a lot of things for it. It just felt great. It’s still fresh in my mind because it’s a short season and it just started. I still remember that. It’s probably going to stay with me for the rest of my life, but I’m just saying that right now it’s just one of those things that comes up in my mind, for sure.”

Devils President/CEO/GM Lou Lamoriello knows exactly what he’s getting in his new acquisition, who’s expected to be in the lineup for Friday’s game against the Flyers.

“I think it was a major factor in re-acquiring him because he fit in so well,” Lamoriello said. “He played our style, he played in all situations. We really would have re-signed him, except that, at that time, we were waiting to see what we were going to be doing with another player. It held (it) up and I don’t think he could wait any longer, which I respected. But he was a player that played extremely well for us throughout the playoffs and just fit into the culture that we have here in New Jersey.”

The move addresses a hole left by the injury to Dainius Zubrus, who has missed the last four games and will have surgery on Thursday.

“There’s no question that that played a factor in doing something aggressively at this time,” Lamoriello said. “Zubrus will be going for exploratory surgery on his wrist (Thursday). We don’t know what the results will be. It could be anywhere from two to eight weeks and that we won’t know until the next 48 hours.

“So yes, it was a factor as far as being aggressive in this situation because of the size and strength, the void (Zubrus’ injury) left in the lineup which Poni certainly brings. He’s an all-situation player and was used last year killing penalties, power plays, as well as 5-on-5. He knows the system. He came here in the middle of the year and played extremely well.”

Ponikarovsky signed with the Jets as a free agent and has two goals in 12 games. Lamoriello said a player will be assigned to Albany to make room on the roster once the transaction was official.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 69 16 24 -3 40
M. Cammalleri 62 25 13 3 38
P. Elias 63 11 21 -16 32
S. Gomez 52 7 24 -7 31
S. Bernier 61 13 14 3 27
T. Zajac 68 11 12 -4 23
A. Larsson 58 3 19 3 22
A. Greene 76 3 18 3 21
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
E. Gelinas 56 6 11 -3 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 28 8 .928 2.19
K. Kinkaid 5 5 3 .918 2.47