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NHL Free Agency 2012: Alexei Ponikarovsky Signs With Winnipeg Jets

Alexei Ponikarovsky signed a one-year contract worth $1.8 million with the Winnipeg Jets on the first day of the 2012 NHL free agency period Sunday. Ponikarovsky joined the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 20 in a trade with the Caroline Hurricanes.

Ponikarovsky notched 18 points in 33 regular season games played with the Devils last season off seven goals and 11 assists. He is the first casualty in what could be a rough offseason for the runners-up in the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Finals.

Forward Zach Parise and long-time netminder Martin Brodeur are both officially unrestricted free agents as of July 1. New Jersey may have trouble keeping one or both next season. Parise is one of the highest-profile free agents in the league and Brodeur could bolt if the Devils don't feel he is worth the $5.2 million he earned last season.

For more on Ponikarovsky and the Devils' 2012 free agents, head over to the SB Nation blog In Lou We Trust.