33-Year-Old Left Wing – Free Agent
Alexei Ponikarovsky Contract Information:
Ponikarovsky agreed to a two-year deal with St. Petersburg SKA of the KHL in August of 2013.
Ponikarovsky agreed to a two-year deal with St. Petersburg SKA of the KHL on Tuesday, the N.J News reports.
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Alexei Ponikarovsky: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Though Ponikarovsky is only two years removed from a 2009-2010 season that saw him register 50 points in 77 games, players at his age have an unfortunate history of depreciating in fantasy value at a sharp rate. Poni acquitted himself well to New Jersey following a mid-season trade from Carolina, playing a steady role in the club's run to the Stanley Cup Finals. The 32-year old Russian has likely entered into a phase of his career rife with one-year contracts, and his enjoying top-six forward minutes with the Jets in 2012-2013 is by no means a guarantee. If he latches on to a semblance of a scoring role, Ponikarovsky is worth a look in deep leagues.
Ponikarovsky is the biggest of the new additions to Carolina, literally and figuratively. The 6-foot-4 power winger signed a new one-year deal worth $1.5 million this offseason and could see time with either captain Eric Staal or Calder Trophy winner Jeff Skinner. Look for Ponikarovsky to rebound from his disappointing 15-point effort last season and return to the neighborhood of 35-55 points.
Ponikarovsky has topped 20 goals in four of the last five years and should skate on one of the Kings' top two scoring lines this season. Playing along some skilled players should help out his totals, but it's hard to envision him regaining the form he showed in 2008-09, when he registered a career-high 61 points. A lot of his value will hinge on how much time on the power play he sees with the Kings, and that depends greatly on the health of Ryan Smyth.
Poni surprised us last season. We thought he’d struggle without Mats Sundin; he didn’t. Then we figured he’d fall flat on his face after the Nik Antropov trade. Instead, he soared to new heights with Grabovski and Kulemin, scoring 19 points in 13 games to tie none other than Alexander Ovechkin for the league lead in March. He finished with 23 goals and 61 points, and should come close to matching that this season.
Poni can put the puck in the net. But he struggled through injuries last season and isn't the kind of guy who can lead a scoring rush -- he's a deputy and not a sheriff. He's great on the cycle and uses his body to control the puck well. But we don't think he's much more than a 25-goal, 50-point man. And only you know where that kind of output fits in your format.
"Poni" has hit new career-bests in points for three seasons running and there's only one way it might not happen again. The arrival of Jason Blake may bump Poni off the top line where the big boy (6'4" and 200 lbs) excelled in a puck control game with Mats Sundin (6'4" and 225 lbs) and Nik Antropov (6'6" and 230 lbs). Together, this trio was unstoppable physically. If he's bumped to the second line, he'll suit up with the small and shifty Kyle Wellwood and the little firecracker that is Darcy Tucker -- two guys who aren't well suited for a cycling game. Poni has a quick wrist shot and could come close to 30 goals with a seeing-eye passer like Wellwood at his side. And a mid-50 point total could be in the cards.
Ponikarovsky had a mini-breakout in '05-'06, scoring 21 goals and 38 points while seeing a lot of action on Mats Sundin's wing. A return to the top line could mean another modest bump into the 50+ point range, but the 26-year-old doesn't have a ton of upside.
We're going out on a limb with Ponikarovsky. He has the size (6'4" and 200+ lbs) and speed to blow past opposing defenders in the new, 'can't touch you' NHL. He just has to figure that part out. Expect a bit of a slow start, but he might just land himself an occasional week or two on a scoring line, giving him a chance to come close to 40 points. Consider him a deep sleeper and if he doesn't get drafted, watch lines in Toronto closely. He could be worth a waiver pick up.