Long time no see. The New Jersey Devils have re-acquired Alexei Ponikarovsky of the Winnipeg Jets. The trade sees Ponikarovsky head to New Jersey, while the Jets receive a 7th round pick in 2013 and a 4th round pick in 2014. Another brilliant depth move by GM Lou Lamoriello.
A few questions arise from this trade.
- Who amongst the obvious candidates (Butler, Matteau, Barch,Loktionov) will be sent down to Albany to clear roster room for Ponikarovsky? Update: Loktionov has been sent down. Obvious choice really; still needs to learn the Devils system.
- Where in the world is Poni going to fit in this lineup?
Ponikarovsky is a big body who creates room for his line mates. That was Zubrus’ job so one must assume this acquisition was made to replace him in the near to distant future (depending on how severe Zubrus’ injury is). But, Ponikarovsky has struggled when given top line minutes, so putting him on the Devils top line along side Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk might not be the best solution. My guess? Put Clarkson on RW on the first line and shift Kovalchuk back over to LW. If the coaching staff doesn’t feel comfortable shifting Kovalchuk to the left side, then they should put Adam Henrique on the first line and Ponikarovsky can play on the second line. As for who gets sent down, I can’t even venture a guess. I would have sent Matteau down years ago and that hasn’t happened. So I’ll just wait for the news like every one else; no need for whimsical guesses.