The Kings finally signed a player, inking former Maple Leaf and Penguin Alexei Ponikarovsky to a one-year, $3 million dollar deal. The signing comes a week after the Kings missed out on dynamic forward Ilya Kovalchuk and just hours after the Kings failed to re-sign the mercurial Alexander Frolov. The signing replaces Frolov's production from last season, although perhaps not his talent, and provides the Kings with the mid-line playmaker they sorely needed.â†µ
Ponikarovsky is a big boy, standing at 6-foot-4, but he does not use his body like you'd expect. Ponikarovsky took a little longer to develop, as most larger players do, but he's tallied at least 20 goals 4 times in the last 5 seasons* and is a solid playmaker from the corners. Ponikarovsky is actually quite similar to Frolov; they both use their bodies to make plays and they both have been accused of not going to the front of the net as much as they should. Still, Ponikarovsky is probably a little more consistent and is known to be a good man to have in the locker room. He should provide stability to one of the Kings' middle lines.
*In 2007-08 Ponikarovsky scored only 18 goals in an injury-shortened season where he played only 66 games.â†µ
The Kings now have another veteran left winger beside Ryan Smyth, although Ponikarovsky was probably their 3rd choice. The Kings still need a top-line winger to give Anze Kopitar some help against the other top players in the league, and it remains to be seen what Kings GM Dean Lombardi plans to do. Ponikarovsky is a good signing in a vaccuum; a probably 50-point producer for $3 million is obviously a pretty good deal. If it's the only move the Kings make to improve their forward core, however, then the Kings might be in trouble come October.â†µ
Quick 'n Dirty Line Forward Projection:â†µ