The Toronto Maple Leafs have a deal in place to trade forward Alexei Ponikarovsky to the Pittsburgh Penguins for defenceman Martin Skoula and prospect Luca Caputi.

The deal will become final after a trade call with the NHL.

Ponikarovsky was kept out of the line-up as a healthy scratch for Toronto’s home game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Ponikarovsky will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and is earning $2.5 million this year. The 29-year old native of Kiev, Ukraine, has 19 goals and 22 assists in 61 games this season and is on pace to eclipse his career-high 23 goals set in 2008-09.

Drafted by the Maple Leafs in the 4th round (87th overall) in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Ponikarovsky has 114 goals, 143 assists and a plus-56 rating in 477 games with the blue and white.

Skoula, 30, has three goals and five assists in 33 games for the Penguins this season. The veteran blueliner will be joining his fifth NHL club after being drafted in the first round (17th overall) by the Colorado Avalanche in the 1998 draft. He also skated for Anaheim, Dallas, and Minnesota before signing a one-year contract with the Penguins as an unrestricted free agent last summer.

Skoula is again eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He is earning $575,000 this season.



  1. mojo19 says:

    He'll be a good fit with Malkin. Penguins would be smart to re-sign Poni and he'll be a 30 goal man for the next 3 or 4 years.

  2. reinjosh says:

    really, because in the real world 17 does not equal more than 19
    and Poni has 19 goals to Guerins 17
    Plus Guerin has Crosby as his center, where Poni had Stajan/Grabovksi/whoevers at center

    He hasnt been overachieving. 5 straight seasons of 18 or more goals with no quality center and two seasons of 50 or more points?

    So we have come to the conclusion that you have no idea what you are talking about

  3. reinjosh says:

    dont bother man. its pretty obvious the guy has no idea what he is talking about
    hockey_lover (a pens fan no less) cant even argue with him

  4. mojo19 says:

    Kariya is $6 million cap hit, pro-rated to $1.5 mil.

    And also cap space is pro-rated as well. You start with around (lets say $60 million to make it easy) and from this point on you have about $15 million. Its a day by day cap though, so if you were 1 million under the cap during the first half of the season, you can go $1 million over during the 2nd half, etc.

    Just for your own information. And even that is a simplistic breakdown, there's more to it.

  5. hockey_lover says:

    You're right. I cant.

    Im not gonna say its a great trade or a great move. Its not.

    Its a small move that will help a little bit on the wing without hurting the current lineup.

    Nothing more, nothing less.

  6. mojo19 says:

    Well reinjosh, I wouldn't say he's had "no quality centre" over that time, but Poni has developed into a very consistant goal man. (He did have Sundin for stretches, Jason Allison 1 year)

  7. mojo19 says:

    The Red Wings also always had those support players. Not guys who were "40 goal snipers", just some secondary scoring from guys like Cleary, Samuelsson, Hudler, etc. None of whom are any significantly better than Poni (or necessarily better at all).

    I hope you can understand the importance of bringing in players of this ilk.

  8. reinjosh says:

    yeah its not a great move
    its a solid one
    and sometimes thats all it takes

  9. hockey_lover says:

    Im certainly not naive enough to think that Poni is the key piece that will put them over the top. He isnt that player and never will be. But, he is a solid two way winger who can chip in some goals. Hopefully, in an ideal world, he is a big body who can clear a bit of space for Malkin like Guerin and Kunitz have done for Sid. If Poni does that, hopefully Malkin will heat up a bit. If he does (and based on his Olympic play, its possible), then the 2nd line becomes a bit more deadly and that makes three lines that can potentially score.

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