In the wake of loss, the Devils went back to something familiar.
Last night the team traded for forward Alexei Ponikarovsky, giving up a fourth-round pick in 2014 and a seventh-round pick in 2013 to the Jets. Ponikarovsky came to the Devils midway through last season, and played well for them on their run to the Stanley Cup finals.
“It was a major factor in re-acquiring him because he fit in so well,” general manager Lou Lamoriello said on a conference call. “He played our style and played in all situations. We would have re-signed him, but at that time, we were waiting to see what happened with another player, and it held up and he couldn’t wait.”
That other player was Zach Parise, the captain who left as a free agent after seven years with the club to sign a $98-million deal with the Wild. In the Parise courting period, Ponikarovsky couldn’t wait, so he signed a one-year, $1.8 million deal with the Jets.
“I know it was a tough situation in New Jersey in terms of ownership and all this stuff,” Ponikarovsky said. “Plus Zach was a free agent, as well as other guys. Winnipeg called and offered me a contract and it just happened.”
A big reason for this trade was also the fact the team placed power forward Dainius Zubrus on injured reserved. Zubrus is supposed to have “exploratory surgery” on his wrist today, according to Lamoriello, and could be out “between two and eight weeks.”
“There was a void it left in the lineup,” Lamoriello said. “[Ponikarovsky] was an all-situations player in the playoffs, he knows the system, and played extremely well for us.”
Ponikarovsky is supposed to fly to New Jersey today and is expecting to be ready to play tomorrow at home against the Flyers. Once the trade becomes official, the team will have to assign one player to Albany, possibly Andrei Loktionov, whom they called up yesterday.
Devils re-acquire forward Ponikarovsky
New York Post | Feb 14