April 9, 1980 |
Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
|Height||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Weight||220 lb (100 kg; 15 st 10 lb)|
|New Jersey Devils
Khimik Moscow Oblast
Toronto Maple Leafs
Los Angeles Kings
|NHL Draft||87th overall, 1998
Toronto Maple Leafs
Oleksiy Volodymyrovych "Alexei" Ponikarovsky (Ukrainian: Олексій Володимирович Понікаровський; born April 9, 1980) is a Ukrainian Canadian professional ice hockey player with the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League (NHL).
Playing career 
Ponikarovsky played for Dynamo 2 and Dynamo Jr., farm teams during 1995–99 campaigns, seeing a little action with the main club during the 1998–99 season and finally becoming a fixture on the team during the 1999–00 season when Dynamo won the Russian Superleague Championship.
In 1997–98, Ponikarovsky played 24 games for Dynamo Moscow in the First Division of the Russian Hockey League collecting three points with 30 penalty minutes. He then played 13 games for Krylya Sovetov of the Russian Elite League in 1998–99 and played three playoff games for Moscow Dynamo.
In 1999–00, Ponikarovsky played 19 games for Dynamo Moscow of the Russian Elite League and played 29 games for THK Tver in the First Division of the Russian Hockey League collecting 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists) with 26 penalty minutes.
In the 2005–06 NHL season, Ponikarovsky put up career highs in goals, assists. points, and penalty minutes. He saw added responsibility and was given more ice-time, often with former Dynamo Moscow teammate Nik Antropov or Mats Sundin, and became one of the team's regular penalty-killers. Ponikarovsky finished the season with four shorthanded goals and 1 assist. His four shorthanded goals tied ten players, including teammate Matt Stajan, for eighth in the league.
On December 16, 2006, Ponikarovsky notched a career high five points in Toronto's 9-2 victory of the New York Rangers, scoring two goals and assisting on three others. He is commonly referred to by his teammates as "The Poni Express", "The Ukraine Train" or simply "Poni". On May 10, 2007, the Maple Leafs re-signed Ponikarovsky to a $6.315 million, 3-year contract.
On March 2, 2010, Ponikarovsky was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Luca Caputi and Martin Skoula. Following the trade, he remained optimistic he would resume contract talks with Toronto in the off-season. In his debut game with the Penguins on March 6, 2010 against the Dallas Stars, he scored his first goal with his new team.
On July 27, 2010, Ponikarovsky signed with the Los Angeles Kings, receiving a signing bonus of $200,000 and a one-year contract for $3M.
On January 20, 2012, Ponikarovsky was traded to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for defenseman Joe Sova and a 4th round pick in the 2012 entry draft. In 33 games, he scored 18 points before helping the Devils to the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals, scoring an overtime game winner in game 3 of the semi-finals against the Philadelphia Flyers.
On July 1, 2012, Ponikarovsky signed as a free agent with the Winnipeg Jets on a one-year contract worth $1.8 million. Due to the 2012 NHL lockout, he signed an temporary contract with the Ukrainian Kontinental Hockey League club HC Donbass for the 2012–13 season. In Donetsk, he had posted 18 points in 32 games, after which he returned to start the shortened NHL season with the Jets. After scoring only 2 goals in 12 games, Ponikarovsky was traded by the Jets back to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a 4th round pick and a 7th round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft on February 13, 2013.
Off the ice 
On June 7, 2007 Ponikarovsky became a Canadian citizen during a ceremony in Etobicoke, Ontario. Ponikarovsky lives in Toronto with his wife Inna, daughter Jessica, and sons Alex and Maxim. He has favored wearing the number 23 as two of his grandparents were born on the 23rd, along with his wife.
Career statistics 
Regular season and playoffs 
|2000–01||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||22||1||3||4||14||—||—||—||—||—|
|2000–01||St. John's Maple Leafs||AHL||49||12||24||36||44||4||0||0||0||4|
|2001–02||St. John's Maple Leafs||AHL||72||21||27||48||19||5||2||1||3||8|
|2001–02||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||8||2||0||2||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|2002–03||St. John's Maple Leafs||AHL||63||24||22||46||68||—||—||—||—||—|
|2002–03||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||13||0||3||3||11||—||—||—||—||—|
|2003–04||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||73||9||19||28||44||13||1||3||4||8|
|2004–05||Khimik Moscow Oblast||RSL||19||1||5||6||16||—||—||—||—||—|
|2005–06||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||81||21||17||38||68||—||—||—||—||—|
|2006–07||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||71||21||24||45||63||—||—||—||—||—|
|2007–08||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||66||18||17||35||36||—||—||—||—||—|
|2008–09||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||82||23||38||61||38||—||—||—||—||—|
|2009–10||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||61||19||22||41||44||—||—||—||—||—|
|2010–11||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||61||5||10||15||36||4||1||0||1||0|
|2011–12||New Jersey Devils||NHL||33||7||11||18||8||24||1||8||9||12|
|2012–13||New Jersey Devils||NHL||30||2||5||7||8||—||—||—||—||—|
International statistics 
|Senior int'l totals||4||1||1||2||6|
- Tom, Godfrey (2007-06-08). "Leaf now a Canadian". CANOE sports. Retrieved 2007-06-19.
- "2005-2006 - Regular season - All Skaters - Short Handed Scoring - SHORT HANDED GOALS". NHL.com. Retrieved 2007-07-19.[dead link]
- "Leafs' Ponikarovsky signs extension". Canadian Press. 2007-05-10. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-07-19.
- "Leafs trade Ponikarovsky to Penguins for Skoula, Caputi". TSN. Archived from the original on 4 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- "Alexei Ponikarovsky: "Fedotenko said:" Ready to win the Stanley Cup? "". 5 March 2010. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
- "NHL Free Agent Tracker". The Sports Network. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
- "HC Donbass reach agreement on contract with Ruslan Fedotenko, Alexei Ponikarovsky" (in Russian). HC Donbass. 2012-09-16. Retrieved 2012-09-16.
- "Ponikarovsky reacquired from Winnipeg". New Jersey Devils. 2013-02-13. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
- "2010 Kings Media Guide". Los Angeles Kings. 2010-10-10. Retrieved 2010-10-10.