: The Sun:
Fri Jan 22: Poni worth a 2nd
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01-23-2010, 12:05 AM
Hockey's Future Staff
Join Date: Jun 2004
Sometimes it's more than just the value you get directly in trade. You gain cap space if you move Ponikarovsky (granted it's a move for a prospect/pick..whatever). That cap space goes towards other moves for the team (hopefully good ones).
I think at the end of the day, as I've said before in other threads, Ponikarovsky is fighting vs. Hagman, Stempniak, Kulemin, Blake, Kessel and to a lesser extent Stalberg for a spot as a winger in the top-six next season. The question then comes down to is he 'that much better' than what you already have under contract? The one main thing he has going for him is his size, outside of that, to me, he doesn't pull far and away ahead of the pack in terms of pure skill and what he brings to the table. He's gone through major slides in consistency, and bad penalties.. similar to other wingers on this team.
Ponikarovsky vs. Hagman - both bring inconsistent offence, both are great when they are on. Hagman is under contract at a good price. Will Ponikarovsky cost more to retain?
vs. Stempniak - This is a UFA vs. UFA battle. The edge obviously would go to Ponikarovsky, but Stempniak is three-years younger and produces at a decent pace. Will he command less than what he's making? More than Ponikarovsky? (I think he's gone anyways)
vs. Kulemin - Kulemin seems to be coming into his own, and should eclipse Ponikarovsky's numbers in the near future. Will likely be much more cap friendly also.
vs. Blake - Blake will be a hard sell so he'll likely be on the roster next season. I'd imagine Burke would love to get his cap hit off the team.
vs. Kessel - obvious answer here.
vs. Stalberg - A young, non-established player with a cap friendly contract. Managment will probably pencil him into the roster for next season. He's a big body, with great speed.
It wouldn't surprise me if Burke believes that 2+m dollars Ponikarovsky is making (plus whatever raise he's in line for) is better used for maybe a Raffi Torres, or a Colby Armstrong. Maybe not players who will put up 25gs and 50pts, but may bring other elements Ponikarovsky doesn't.
I wouldn't be against retaining Ponikarovsky (at around 3m), but unless Burke can find a taker for someone like Hagman or Blake before the deadline.. I think Ponikarovsky's a goner. I just can't see him having those three as wingers under contract going into next season. It doesn't leave him with enough room to bring in his own guys to shape this team.
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