Alexei Ponikarovsky: Struggling After Leaving the Toronto Maple Leafs

January 27th, 2011 by Mark Ritter Leave a reply »
Originally drafted in the fourth round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft (87th overall) by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Alexei Ponikarovsky was seen as a little more than a project forward by most.

“Poni” would have a couple of short stints with Krylja Sovetov Moscow-Russia, Dynamo Moscow-Russia and Dynamo Moscow-EuroNHL before finally joining the Maple Leafs in 2000-2001.

Ponikarovsky would split the 2000-01 season between the Maple Leafs and their AHL affiliate (then the St. John’s Maple Leafs), accumulating one goal and three assists with Toronto through 22 games, followed by a decent 36 points in 49 games in St. John’s.

The 2001-02 season saw Ponikarovsky spend 72 games with the St. John’s Maple Leafs, where he scored 21 goals and 48 points through 72 games. He would spend the majority of the 2002-03 season in St. John’s before making his second appearance with the big club, this time lasting 13 games, in which he had a total of three assists.

Poni would finally spend an entire season with the Maple Leafs in 2003-04, accumulating 28 points through 73 games. He would follow that up with two consecutive 21- ...

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