With no shot at prized free agent Parise, the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday, July 1, agreed to terms with Ponikarovsky. A big, two-way winger, Ponikarovsky, 32, has scored 135 goals and 179 assists in 636 career games for four different teams. Last season, he scored 14 goals and 19 assists between the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils.
"I know it's a good hockey town, and it has always been, with excellent fans," Ponikarovsky told NHL.com. "It's nice to be back in a Canadian town that has a lot of passion for hockey."
The Jets hope reuniting Ponikarovsky, a fourth-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1998, with Nik Antropov will spark both players. They skated together in Toronto for four seasons. Furthermore, Ponikarovsky will be an upgrade over Tanner Glass, who last season scored five goals and 11 assists on the popular "GST" line. Glass signed on Sunday with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Ponikarovsky is solid addition, but the Jets still have plenty of work to do. There's still restricted free agent Evander Kane to deal with, as well as key pieces Kyle Wellwood, Tim Stapleton and Mark Flood. Plus, with backup goalie Chris Mason having bolted for the Nashville Predators, the Jets need an able body to backup Ondrej Pavelec, who recently signed a five-year deal to stay in Winnipeg.
I like the Ponikarovsky signing, but it's just one piece of the puzzle. Let's hope that the Jets are in the playoff picture when all the puzzle pieces finally fall into place.
Adam Martini is a freelance sportswriter and supporter of all Winnipeg sports teams. He no longer dreads Winnipeg winters now that the Jets have returned to town. You can Follow Adam on Twitter @PegCitySports.
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