April 9, 1980 |
Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
|Height||6 ft 4 in (193 cm)|
|Weight||220 lb (100 kg; 15 st 10 lb)|
|SKA Saint Petersburg
Khimik Moscow Oblast
Toronto Maple Leafs
Los Angeles Kings
New Jersey Devils
|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 left winger currently playing for SKA Saint Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). Ponikarovsky has previously played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, Carolina Hurricanes, Winnipeg Jets and New Jersey Devils, having originally been drafted in the third round, 87th overall, by the Maple Leafs at the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.
Ponikarovsky began his career with the Dynamo Moscow organization, playing with the team's affiliates, Dynamo-2 and Dynamo Jr., from 1995 to 1999 campaigns, seeing a little action with the main club during the 1998–99 season before becoming a regular fixture on the team during the 1999–2000 season when Dynamo won the Russian Superleague championship.
In 1997–98, Ponikarovsky played 24 games for Dynamo in the First Division of the Russian Hockey League, collecting three points. He then played 13 games for Krylya Sovetov of the Russian Elite League in 1998–99 and played three playoff games for Dynamo.
In 1999–2000, Ponikarovsky played 19 games for Dynamo 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 and 14 assists).
In the 2005–06 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 one 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 three-year, $6.315 million contract extension.
On March 2, 2010, Ponikarovsky was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Luca Caputi and Martin Škoula. 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 $3 million.
On January 20, 2012, Ponikarovsky was traded to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for defenceman Joe Sova and a fourth-round pick in 2012. 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. 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.
Due to the 2012 NHL lockout, Ponikarovsky signed a 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.
Upon the conclusion of the 2012–13 season, with limited NHL interest in free agency, Ponikarovsky decided to return to the KHL, signing a two-year contract with SKA Saint Petersburg on August 5, 2013, a move that reunited him with New Jersey Devils teammate, Ilya Kovalchuk, who also had just signed with SKA.
Off the ice
On June 7, 2007 Ponikarovsky became a Canadian citizen during a ceremony in Etobicoke, Ontario. Ponikarovsky lives in Miami with his wife Inna, daughter Jessica, and sons Alex and Maxim, while still owning a house in Toronto. He has favored wearing the number 23 as two of his grandparents were born on the 23rd, along with his wife. After signing with St. Petersburg, Ponikarovsky obtained additional Russian citizenship, as many Ukrainians in the KHL do.
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||—||—||—||—||—|
|2013–14||SKA Saint Petersburg||KHL||51||6||9||15||38||10||1||1||2||4|
|2014–15||SKA Saint Petersburg||KHL||32||2||6||8||24||9||1||0||1||4|
- 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.
- "Ponikarovsky reacquired from Winnipeg". New Jersey Devils. 2013-02-13. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
- "HC Donbass reach agreement on contract with Ruslan Fedotenko, Alexei Ponikarovsky" (in Russian). HC Donbass. 2012-09-16. Retrieved 2012-09-16.
- "Alexei Ponikarovsky joins SKA!". SKA St. Petersburg. 2013-08-05. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
- "2010 Kings Media Guide". Los Angeles Kings. 2010-10-10. Retrieved 2010-10-10.