The New Jersey Devils bring back a veteran as they prep themselves for another Stanley Cup run.
As the New Jersey Devils moved along in their hunt for another Cup, news broke earlier this week that they had acquired Alexei Ponikarovsky from the Winnipeg Jets.
They exchanged a few draft picks in 2013 and 2014.
If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Ponikarovsky was on the Devils last season.
When he became a free agent, he was picked up by the Jets.
However, it seems that the Devils are sorely missing him — especially with Dainius Zubrus out of order.
Zubrus, a 6-foot-5 forward, was a big loss for New Jersey when he went down about two weeks ago.
Lou Lamoriello, the general manager of the Devils, noted that the acquisition was in part due to Zubrus’ injury.
However, it’s worth noting that Ponikarovsky’s familiarity with the team will certainly help New Jersey, which is renowned for its low-scoring offense.
[Alexei] fit in so well for us last year. He played our style and he played in all situations. He was a player that played extremely well for us in the playoffs.
- Lou Lamoriello, in a call with the Wall Street Journal
It took awhile for the Devils to confirm Zubrus’ “upper body injury,” which was evidently a wrist complication that now requires surgery.
He’ll be out for up to eight weeks, meaning Ponikarovsky will have to be the go-to guy until then.
But what does this mean for New Jersey as the second half of the season plays out?
Expect Ilya Kovalchuk to see more ice time (if that’s even possible).
Head coach Peter DeBoer will rely more on his favorite line – Gionta-Bernier-Carter – to get the team out of tough scoring situations.
Much of the same will likely come out of the Devils until Zubrus returns and the offense has Ponikarovsky around as an extra big body.
That being said, it’s worth keeping tabs on Zubrus’ progress.
When he’s back in the line-up, the Devils may finally have the offensive power to start putting other Cup contenders on edge.
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