With rumors that forward Dainius Zubrus could be out at least 4-6 weeks with a wrist problem Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello wasted no time in replacing him with an NHL calibur forward.
In fact, this guy could fit right into Zubrus’ big skates, literally.
For a seventh round pick in the 2013 draft and a fourth rounder next year New Jersey reacquired Alexei Ponikarovski. Yes, the same Ponikarovski they traded for in the middle of last season.
It seems kind of silly to trade for a guy two different times in 13 months. Combined, Lamoriello has coughed up two fourth rounders, a minor league defenseman and this year’s seventh round pick- all for a third line winger who makes $1.7 million.
When the free agency period began last year New Jersey had all their attention focused on retaining Zach Parise. They reportedly made a competitive offer but eventually lost him to the Minnesota Wild.
During that time Ponikarovski was the pretty girl at the dance overshadowed by the supermodel. He picked the first competitive suitor that came his way. It is all very understandable really, Ponikarvoski was looking out for what is best for his career and wellbeing. It is one of those scenarios that remind you that the NHL is a business, first.
So while it is a bit stammering, the familiarity factor here will dismiss any uncertainty regarding whether “Poni” will fit in. He had 18 points in 33 regular season games last year and was a big part of the Devils’ Stanley Cup run. He is huge- and fit right in to New Jersey’s deep, physical forecheck manifesto last spring.
Hopefully for New Jersey Zubrus can return healthy and the Devils will be all the more deeper come playoff time.
The Devils welcome the rival Flyers to Newark tonight for their second meeting of the season. The Devils blanked Philly 3-0 the second game of the season.
New Jersey lost just their second regulation game Tuesday night, this one at the hands of the Hurricanes.
Tonight starts a mini sprint of six games in 10 days. That will be another good measuring stick in this short season.