This is a series of posts on the Devils' pending free agents (restricted and unrestricted). We'll cover their strengths and weaknesses and end up with a final verdict on whether we think the Devils should re-sign the player. There will also be a poll at the end of each post so you guys can weigh in with your thoughts.
Position: Left Wing
2013 statistics: 30 games with NJ/2 goals, 5 assists, 7 points, minus-2 rating, 8 PIMs
Free-agent status: Unrestricted
2012-13 salary/cap hit: $1.8 million/$1.8 million (via Cap Geek)
Team history: Acquired in 2013 trade with Winnipeg Jets for conditional 2013 draft pick. Played in 33 games with the Devils during 2011-12 season, amassing 18 points.
What he brings: Ponikarovsky was a great checking-line forward in the Devils' 2012 run to the Stanley Cup Finals. He scored a few timely goals this season and brings the always valubale "jam" to the lineup. 'Poni' also is a good dressing room leader and can play on any line.
What he lacks: Ponikarovsky is not a goal scorer yet was forced to play on New Jersey's top line periodically and struggled. He's a good complementary forward, but his impact does not necessarily show up on the scoresheet.
Should he stay or should he go: It seems to me that Lou Lamoriello realized letting Ponikarovsky go was a mistake and his midseason trade proved that. I find it hard to believe that Lamoriello will let a role player like Ponikarovsky, who is versatile and has a good attitude, walk again-- especially since he'll come cheap and next year has the potential to be a transition year. FINAL VERDICT: He stays.