All week leading up to July 1, we’ll be profiling unrestricted free agents and speculating where they might end up.
Alexei Ponikarovsky (LW)
2011-12 cap hit: $1.5 million
The skinny: Ponikarovsky seemed to find a place that worked perfect for him in New Jersey after being dealt there by Carolina. Ponikarovsky went from being a long-time Maple Leaf to hopping from team to team. Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and Carolina all tried to make it work but failed. Ponikarovsky had 18 points in 33 games for the Devils last season, more than what he had in 49 games for Carolina, and had a stunning knack for coming up huge in big spots.
Does that parlay into a sweet free agent deal, though? At this point after watching Ponikarovsky not work out so well for three teams, that’s enough of a track record to keep other teams from dumping out a ton of cash. He might stay in New Jersey, but should he bolt he might wait a bit for an offer while others find their landing spots first.