March 02, 2010
This is what Ray Shero does. The general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins famously added winger Marian Hossa(notes) in Feb. 2008, and his team played for the Stanley Cup. He traded for wingers Chris Kunitz(notes) and Bill Guerin(notes) in 2009, and the Penguins won the Stanley Cup.
Tuesday night, on the eve of the trade deadline, TSN reports that Shero struck a deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs for winger Alexei Ponikarovsky(notes); the basic deal sending 21-year-old left wing prospect Luca Caputi(notes) to the Leafs, pending some other moves.
Ponikarovsky was held out of the Leafs lineup in their 5-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. He has 19 goals and 22 points this season; Bill Guerin has 17 and 21, and was acquired for a third-round pick last season. Poni will ride into unrestricted free agency this summer.
TSN and Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review write that the Penguins need to make another roster move to add his adjusted cap hit (estimated at $487,000) under their cap. Damien Cox of the Toronto Stars reports that defenseman Martin Skoula(notes) (a UFA this summer) could head to the Leafs to make this happen. David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period believed there could be a draft pick involved, too.
UPDATE: The official deal, from the Penguins, is Alexei Ponikarovsky in exchange for forward Luca Caputi and defenseman Martin Skoula.
This getting a prospect like Caputi back for a rental that wasn't in the Leafs' plans is a solid pull from GM Brian Burke. Poni could certainly be the sort of scoring winger the Penguins have lacked since the end of Petr Sykora's(notes) tenure. But Caputi is projected to be a 75-point player for the Leafs; this one might not turn out to be Angelo Esposito(notes) to the Thrashers. Thus, we must give this trade the 2-Mike rating on our Milbury Scale.