Ponikarovsky, who helped the Devils reach the Stanley Cup Final last season, was reacquired by the club from the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday night in exchange for a seventh-round pick at the 2013 NHL Draft and a fourth-round selection in 2014.
The 32-year-old forward had two goals in 12 games for Winnipeg this season. He signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Jets this summer. Ponikarovsky is expected to be in the lineup Friday night when the Devils host the Philadelphia Flyers.
"I think it was a major factor in reacquiring him because he fit in so well," Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said. "He played our style, he played in all situations. We really would have re-signed him, except that, at that time, we were waiting to see what we were going to be doing with another player. It held (it) up and I don't think he could wait any longer, which I respected. But he was a player that played extremely well for us throughout the playoffs and just fit into the culture that we have here in New Jersey."
Ponikarvosky began the 2011-12 season with the Carolina Hurricanes, tallying seven goals and eight assists in 49 games. He was traded to New Jersey on Jan. 21, 2012, in exchange for defenseman Joe Sova and a fourth-round pick at the 2012 draft.
Ponikarovsky went 7-11-18 in 33 regular-season games for the Devils before getting a goal and eight assists in 24 Stanley Cup Playoff contests.
"Obviously there's a few (good memories)," Ponikarovsky told the Devils' website. "We went to the Stanley Cup Final. That's the pretty important one in my mind. The way we played and everybody contributed, and everybody sacrificed a lot of things for it. It just felt great. It's still fresh in my mind because it's a short season and it just started. I still remember that. It's probably going to stay with me for the rest of my life, but I'm just saying that right now it's just one of those things that comes up in my mind, for sure."
Ponikarovsky was selected in the fourth round (No. 87) of the 1998 NHL Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs. In 648 games with Toronto, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Carolina, New Jersey and Winnipeg, he has 137 goals and 179 assists.
The Devils also said forward Dainius Zubrus would have surgery on his wrist Thursday. Zubrus has missed the past four games.
"There's no question that that played a factor in doing something aggressively at this time," Lamoriello said. "Zubrus will be going for exploratory surgery on his wrist. We don't know what the results will be. It could be anywhere from two to eight weeks and that we won't know until the next 48 hours.
"So yes, it was a factor as far as being aggressive in this situation because of the size and strength, the void (Zubrus' injury) left in the lineup which Poni certainly brings. He's an all-situation player and was used last year killing penalties, power plays, as well as 5-on-5. He knows the system. He came here in the middle of the year and played extremely well."
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