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Alexei Ponikarovsky
Alexei Ponikarovsky.png
Born 9 April 1980 (1980-04-09) (age 39)
Kiev, Ukraine
Height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight 220 lb (100 kg; 15 st 10 lb)
Position Left Wing
Shoots Left
KHL team
Former teams
HC Kunlun Red Star
Krylya Sovetov
Dynamo Moscow
Toronto Maple Leafs
Khimik Moscow Oblast
Pittsburgh Penguins
Los Angeles Kings
Carolina Hurricanes
New Jersey Devils
Donbass Donetsk
Winnipeg Jets
SKA Saint Petersburg
National team Template:Country data Ukraine
NHL Draft 87th overall, 1998
Toronto Maple Leafs
Playing career 1998–present

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).

He has previously played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, Carolina Hurricanes, Winnipeg Jets and the New Jersey Devils.

Alexei was drafted in the third round (87th overall) by the Maple Leafs at the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.

Playing CareerEdit

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).

Career StatisticsEdit

Regular season and playoffsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1998–99 Krylya Sovetov RHL 13 2 1 3 2
1998–99 Dynamo Moscow RSL 3 0 0 0 2
1999–00 Dynamo Moscow RSL 19 1 0 1 8 1 0 0 0 0
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
2009–10 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 16 2 7 9 17 11 1 4 5 4
2010–11 Los Angeles Kings NHL 61 5 10 15 36 4 1 0 1 0
2011–12 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 49 7 8 15 26
2011–12 New Jersey Devils NHL 33 7 11 18 8 24 1 8 9 12
2012–13 Donbass Donetsk KHL 32 5 13 18 16
2012–13 Winnipeg Jets NHL 12 2 0 2 6
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
NHL totals 678 139 184 323 419 52 4 15 19 28
KHL totals 205 23 36 59 142 27 2 2 4 8

InternationalEdit

Year Team Event Result   GP G A Pts PIM
2002 Ukraine OG 10th 4 1 1 2 6
2013 Ukraine OGQ NQ 3 2 3 5 0
Senior totals 7 3 4 7 6

Personal LifeEdit

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.

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