Jets agree to terms with Alexei Ponikarovsky
"They were pursuing me last year as well, but I ended up signing with a different team," explained Ponikarovsky via conference call Sunday afternoon. "I know a few guys there, especially my former teammate Nik Antropov, so I was thinking it would be a good fit for me, and it would be a good opportunity to show what I can do."
Ponikarovsky, 32, split time last year between New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes. He played in 33 games with the Devils where he scored 18 points (7G, 11A) and eight penalty minutes. The native of Kiev, Ukraine also appeared in 24 post-season games for the Devils as they advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals where he scored nine points (1G, 8A) and collected 12 penalty minutes. Prior to joining the Devils, he played in 49 games with the Carolina Hurricanes where he scored 15 points (7G, 8A) and collected 26 penalty minutes.
Ponikarovsky has appeared in 636 career NHL games with Toronto, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Carolina, and New Jersey where he’s collected a career total of 314 points (135G, 179A) and 405 career penalty minutes. He has 19 points (4G, 15A) in 62 career Stanley Cup playoff games.
Describing his own style of play, Alexei Ponikarovsky stated, "I get in on the forecheck, I finish my checks. A big body that can score some goals and create opportunities for my line mates. i can kill penalties, I can play on the power play. I can be useful in any situation, and every game and every night I am trying to bring my best effort."
He was originally drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the fourth round, 87th overall, in the 1998 NHL Draft.
The 32-year-old winger expressed his excitement to play in Winnipeg, "I know it's a good hockey town, and it has always been, with excellent fans. It's nice to be back in a Canadian town that has a lot of passion for hockey."