|Born||9 April 1980 |
|Height||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Weight||220 lb (100 kg; 15 st 10 lb)|
|HC Kunlun Red Star|
Toronto Maple Leafs
Khimik Moscow Oblast
Los Angeles Kings
New Jersey Devils
SKA Saint Petersburg
|National team||Template:Country data Ukraine|
|NHL Draft||87th overall, 1998|
Toronto Maple Leafs
Alexei Ponikarovsky (born Oleksiy Volodymyrovych Ponikarovsky on April 9, 1980) is a Ukrainian-Canadian professional ice hockey left winger currently playing for HC Kunlun Red Star of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).
Alexei was drafted in the third round (87th overall) by the Maple Leafs at the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.
Alexei began his career with the Dynamo Moscow organization, playing with the team's affiliates, Dynamo-2 and Dynamo Jr., from 1995 to 1999 campaigns, seeing a little action with the main club during the 1998–99 season before becoming a regular fixture on the team during the 1999–2000 season when Dynamo won the Russian Superleague championship.
In 1997–98, he played 24 games for Dynamo in the First Division of the Russian Hockey League, collecting three points. He then played 13 games for Krylya Sovetov of the Russian Elite League in 1998–99 and played three playoff games for Dynamo.
In 1999–2000, Alexei played 19 games for Dynamo of the Russian Elite League and played 29 games for THK Tver in the First Division of the Russian Hockey League, collecting 22 points (eight goals and 14 assists).
In the 2005–06 season, he put up career-highs in goals, assists, points and penalty minutes. He saw added responsibility and was given more ice-time, often with former Dynamo Moscow teammate Nik Antropov or Mats Sundin and became one of the team's regular penalty-killers.
Alexei finished the season with four shorthanded goals and one assist. His four shorthanded goals tied ten players (including teammate Matt Stajan) for eighth in the League.
On December 16, 2006, Alexei notched a career-high five points in Toronto's 9–2 victory of the New York Rangers, scoring two goals and assisting on three others.
On May 10, 2007, the Maple Leafs re-signed him to a three-year, $6.315 million contract extension.
On March 2, 2010, Alexei was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Luca Caputi and Martin Skoula. Following the trade, he remained optimistic he would resume contract talks with Toronto in the off-season.
In his debut game with the Penguins on March 6, 2010, against the Dallas Stars, he scored his first goal with his new team.
On July 27, 2010, Alexei signed with the Los Angeles Kings, receiving a signing bonus of $200,000 and a one-year contract for $3 million.
On July 1, 2011, he signed a one-year contract with the Carolina Hurricanes reportedly worth $1.5 million.
On January 20, 2012, Alexei was traded to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for defenceman Joe Sova and a fourth-round pick in 2012. In 33 games, he scored 18 points before helping the Devils to the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals, scoring an overtime game winner in game 3 of the semi-finals against the Philadelphia Flyers.
On July 1, 2012, Alexei signed as a free agent with the Winnipeg Jets on a one-year contract worth $1.8 million, but due to the 2012–13 NHL lockout, he signed a temporary contract with the Ukrainian Kontinental Hockey League club HC Donbass for the 2012–13 season.
In Donetsk, he had posted 18 points in 32 games, after which he returned to start the shortened NHL season with the Jets.
After scoring only 2 goals in 12 games, Alexei was traded by the Jets back to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a 4th round pick and a 7th round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft on February 13, 2013.
Upon the conclusion of the 2012–13 season, with limited NHL interest in free agency, Alexei decided to return to the KHL, signing a two-year contract with SKA Saint Petersburg on August 5, 2013, a move that reunited him with his New Jersey Devils teammate, Ilya Kovalchuk (who also had just signed with SKA).
Regular season and playoffs
|2000–01||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||22||1||3||4||14||—||—||—||—||—|
|2000–01||St. John's Maple Leafs||AHL||49||12||24||36||44||4||0||0||0||4|
|2001–02||St. John's Maple Leafs||AHL||72||21||27||48||19||5||2||1||3||8|
|2001–02||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||8||2||0||2||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|2002–03||St. John's Maple Leafs||AHL||63||24||22||46||68||—||—||—||—||—|
|2002–03||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||13||0||3||3||11||—||—||—||—||—|
|2003–04||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||73||9||19||28||44||13||1||3||4||8|
|2004–05||Khimik Moscow Oblast||RSL||19||1||5||6||16||—||—||—||—||—|
|2005–06||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||81||21||17||38||68||—||—||—||—||—|
|2006–07||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||71||21||24||45||63||—||—||—||—||—|
|2007–08||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||66||18||17||35||36||—||—||—||—||—|
|2008–09||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||82||23||38||61||38||—||—||—||—||—|
|2009–10||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||61||19||22||41||44||—||—||—||—||—|
|2010–11||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||61||5||10||15||36||4||1||0||1||0|
|2011–12||New Jersey Devils||NHL||33||7||11||18||8||24||1||8||9||12|
|2012–13||New Jersey Devils||NHL||30||2||5||7||8||—||—||—||—||—|
|2013–14||SKA Saint Petersburg||KHL||51||6||9||15||38||10||1||1||2||4|
|2014–15||SKA Saint Petersburg||KHL||32||2||6||8||24||9||1||0||1||4|
|2015–16||SKA Saint Petersburg||KHL||40||3||1||4||30||3||0||0||0||0|
|2016–17||HC Kunlun Red Star||KHL||52||7||7||14||34||5||0||1||1||0|
On June 7, 2007, Alexei became a Canadian citizen during a ceremony in Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada. He lives in Miami, Florida with his wife Inna, daughter Jessica and sons Alex & Maxim while still owning a house in Toronto.
He has favored wearing the number 23 as two of his grandparents were born on the 23rd, along with his wife.
After signing with St. Petersburg, Alexei obtained additional Russian citizenship as many Ukrainians in the KHL do.