Alexei Ponikarovsky is back in black (and red). The Devils re-acquired the left wing in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a fourth- and a seventh-round pick in the 2013 draft. You may remember the Devils let Ponikarovsky walk in the offseason after he put up seven goals and 20 points in 33 regular-season games last season. He also had a goal and eight assists during the Devils’ run to the Stanley Cup final.
So why bring Ponikarovsky back? You mean besides the gaping hole at left wing on the first and fourth lines? Kidding.
And then there’s this…
The Devils said they will send a player down to the AHL to make room for Ponikarovsky, who plans to fly to New Jersey tomorrow and be available to play Friday.
The Devils also announced Dainius Zubrus will need surgery and be sidelined for two to eight weeks, but we’ll get into that in another post. As for this move, it seems pretty obvious the “player” the Devils were waiting on last summer was Zach Parise and Ponikarovsky chose to sign a one-year, $1.8 million deal with Winnipeg instead of waiting for New Jersey. He should help provide solid depth up front, especially with Zubrus out until possibly late April. The Devils have been trying to find someone, anyone to fit in at left wing on the top line alonside Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk and Ponikarovsky did show a nice scoring touch during last season’s limited run. I’d expect him to get at least get a game to audition there, possibly as early as Friday night against Philly.
It also depends on who the Devils send down. It would in no way shock me if it’s Stefan Matteau, who has played better since his contract situation was “resolved,” but remains far from a top-line player. He was mostly playing there because Pete DeBoer was reluctant to break up the incredibly efficient second and third lines for more than a shift or two. The other options are Andrei Loktionov (which would surprise me) and Bobby Butler. I can’t seem them sending Loktionov back to Albany after one optional practice when Lou specifically said the coaches wanted to take a couple days to see what they had. As for Butler, he’s played pretty well since he was called up and seems like a good fit on the fourth line. Plus, Butler is a natural right wing, so he’ll likely stick unless they want to play Jacob Josefson or Matteau on the right side on that fourth line.
Regardless, a lot of moving parts right now in New Jersey.
This just in via the wonderful world of Twitter:
Here’s a scouting report from Hockey’s Future on Loktionov:
Loktionov is a solid two-way player who can fulfill various roles on the team ranging from a defensive expert on shorthanded units to a playmaker on a power-play unit. He sees the ice well and effectively uses his linemates, creating a number of scoring chances. A couple of more significant improvement areas for Loktionov include his faceoff skills and his scoring ability. Specifically in regards to his scoring ability, while always a danger in the offensive zone, Loktionov prefers to pass rather than shoot and in a shot-filled North American style of hockey a more multi-dimensional game would make him more dangerous and hard to contain.
We’ve talked about the team needing to increase its forward depth and this trade does exactly that, despite Loktionov being sent to Albany for the time being. While he might not be the top-six forward many had hoped the Devils would add, this seems more in line with how Lou Lamoriello has gone about his business this season. Also, the addition of Loktionov gives the Devils someone to legitimately push Jacob Josefson with from inside the organization. Prior to this trade, Josefson’s roster spot was about as secure as he could expect, given the lack of options to replace him. However, Josefson continues to skate primarily on the fourth line despite being given multiple chances on the top units. I wouldn’t be surprised if Loktionov gets the call to the Devils once they decide to send Stefan Matteau back to junior. The fifth-round pick isn’t anything of note, so all in all a very solid trade for the Devils.
Darren Drager tweeted this morning reporting that the Minnesota Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky has waived his no trade clause to come to the Devils. No deal has officially made. Things are in the works. Zidlicky has 1 more year left on his deal after this season at a $4 million cap hit.
I think this would be great for Zidlicky and the Devils. He will provide great depth for the Devils as they hope to move up in the standings. If the Devils don’t have to give up too much for him it’ll be a great deal for the Devils.
The Fourth Period is reporting that the NHL may have to advance the Devils $20 million to be able to pay the payroll for the rest of season. One of the biggest contracts on the team is soon to be free agent Zach Parise.
Now it is already suspect that Parise may not be back with the team next season but it seems like the Devils may not be able to afford him for the rest of the season. So it may seem that the Devils might have to trade Parise for draft picks to ease up on some one the payroll.
This is troubling news for the Devils because there is no doubt that Zach Parise will bring in revenue next season should he resign but could really hurt the team off the ice should he depart. Definitely give this a read.
The latest bit on the Zach Parise ordeal is that although money is going to be a factor in where he plays next season he really wants to play for a team that has a shot of winning a Stanley Cup.
If you were to ask me in the beginning of the season if the Devils were a Stanley Cup team I would have said ‘absolutely not’ but as the season as gone on the Devils have had their fair share of ups and downs. Now if they continue to play how they have played in the last 18 games, during which they have gone 12-5-1, they could be a huge threat in the playoffs. If the Devils can make it to the 2nd round of the playoffs that maybe all the convincing Parise needs to stay with the club. That will ensure that the Devils can be contenders for years to come with emerging players like Adam Henrique and Adam Larsson.
Now Parise is not going to be the only one helping the team make run in the playoffs but he has a good mix of youth (Adam Henrique and Adam Larsson) and experience (Patrik Elias and Anton Volchenkov) in the lineup. This team has the opportunity to help Parise lead this team because lets face it this is Parise’s team. He is the captain, the face. Unless he goes somewhere else this will be his team.
But as the years go on the older players like Elias and Brodeur will not long be able to play. A sad day that will be but it is going to happen. With the way Lou Lamoriello has built this team in the past was through the farm system and I think he has made a lot of smart moves to where the younger guys in the minors will someday be able to come in a fill the void. IE Kinkaid for Brodeur.
Now with a current Devils’ squad that is qualified to make a run in the playoffs this year and years to come thanks to the great farm system that Lou has built. Winning in New Jersey is a very possible goal should Parise stay and lead this team. The only issue remaining is money. If Zach gives the Devils a little home town discount I’m pretty sure its safe to say he would sign in the $7 million range just because he has established himself with this team and he is the go to guy. He may not get that anywhere else that also has a shot of winning a Cup. I think the Devils can find another million to add on to Parise current 1 year $6 million deal.
I maybe complete wrong but I think Parise has all the right reasons to stay in New Jersey. He could get the money he deserves along with ability to win now and in the future. I don’t think he is going to go any where else. He is here to stay in New Jersey.
There is an article on Bleacher Report saying that the Devils must trade Martin Brodeur now. They say that it would be tough for the Devils to resign Brodeur after this season when his contract expires. It has been obviously especially lately that Brodeur has not been up to par.
But really think about it with Brodeur’s play this season do you really think any other team is going to want to trade for an aging goaltender for half a season? I don’t think so. With the injuries that Brodeur has encountered over the last couple seasons you have to figure that this is more than likely going to be his final season especially if there is going to be any work stoppage coming up this summer.
In the article they mention that if Brodeur does return next season it will only prevent the AHL prospects from getting some time in the NHL. If you recall I talked about those AHL prospects the other day. If you don’t remember you can find it here. I still think that Kinkaid and Frazee would be a good young tandem for the Devils next season. Give this a read.
The Devils have sent Rod Pelley, Mark Fraser and a 7th Round Pick to the Anaheim Ducks for defenseman Kurtis Foster and goaltender Timo Pielmeier.
This is an upgrade for the Devils on defense and gives them a right handed shot from the point on the power play thanks to Foster. So far this season Foster has 1 goal and 1 assist in 9 games this season with the Ducks. Hopefully he can contribute more with the Devils. He is expected to join the team in Florida tomorrow.
Pielmeier is expected to go down to one of the Devils’ farm teams. He was playing in the ECHL with the Elmira Jackals. We shall see where he lands exactly soon.
Now for the record I would like to start off by saying that is NOT fact in any sort of way. This is a look at other teams that Parise would fit well with along with providing a valuable return for the Devils if they are to deal away Parise.
So far this season Parise has not been lighting the lamp as much as we all had hoped. He has just 6 goals and 5 assists in 19 games with a -5 rating while playing on the top line with Henrique and Kovalchuk. Despite the numbers he has been playing very well defensively which maybe just as important as scoring considering the Devils’ defense.
Parise signed a 1 year contract this summer. Everyone had assumed that it was the kiss of death and began to think that Parise’s days in New Jersey were numbered. So trade speculation and rumors are not anything to be surprised about. A couple days ago there was word that the Devils were in talks with the Los Angeles Kings about exchanging Parise for Jonathan Bernier and a top forward. But lets go over some teams that would provide a great return for the Devils in the event that Parise is dealt.
Keep in mind I am looking at the salary cap when it comes to these “deals” so there is no chance they are not possible due to the cap. If you do not know Parise is set to make $6 million this season.
I strongly believe that if Parise is going to be dealt its going to be by a team that is in a “win now” mentality along with giving something back to the Devils. Some other teams that come to mind are the Minnesota Wild and Washington Capitals.
The Minnesota Wild made some big moves this summer in acquiring Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi from the San Jose Sharks in different deals. Even though the Wild are 1st in the Western Conference they are 28th in the NHL in goals per game. They are going to have to score more goals if they want to keep winning. Who better to be scoring than Zach Parise?
Now the Devils are going to be looking for a goaltender and the Wild have a good goaltender named Josh Harding. In the 7 games he has played this season he has a 1.79 GAA and a .945 save percentage. He has potential to be a great consistent starting goaltender.
Also the Wild are going to have to throw in another player, I’m think its going to have to be someone that is going to be able to feed the puck to Kovalchuk. Even though Setoguchi just arrived with the Wild I think he could be on the move again. He would work really well with Henrique and Kovalchuk on the top line.
Harding and Setoguchi for Parise. Seems like a fair deal to me for both sides. One final point, Parise may want to go home to Minnesota.
Its has been obvious that the Capitals want to win right now. The Capitals are in no short of scoring but they need a defensive forward. Parise is just that and if Parise wants to win his best odds are in Washington. Now Parise won’t just be some offensive defensive expert but he will definitely be able to contribute on offense.
The Capitals are also at the top the of salary cap ceiling and they have one contract that is highly moveable. Alexander Semin’s contract is set to expire at the end of the year. So I think this trade would be a simple one for one trade. Semin would be great to play with Kovalchuk which maybe the solution to a more productive Kovalchuk.
Semin for Parise. One for One. I call that fair for both teams.
The Hockey News posted an article on whether the Devils could trade the future Hall of Famer. The mention that Brodeur would be a good fit in Florida. In my opinion, I don’t think Brodeur is going to go anywhere. Brodeur is definitely going to retire a Devil. To even think that he may play for another team is ludicrous. But give this a read.