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Kings sign winger Ponikarovsky as Plan C proves successful

July 27, 2010 |  3:09 pm
If at first you don't succeed in signing a high-scoring Russian winger ... and if your second option of re-signing another Russian winger falls through ... then you try, try again.

This time, the Kings succeeded. Their first major off-season addition is left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky, who got a one-year contract worth $3 million and a signing bonus of $200,000. The Kings made the announcement hours after Alexander Frolov signed a one-year, $3-million contract with the New York Rangers. Retaining Frolov was the Kings' second option after they lost out (at least for now) on Ilya Kovalchuk, but Frolov headed East. The Kings, who missed out on the free-agent defensemen they had been pursuing, previously lost defenseman Sean O'Donnell to free agency.

Ponikarovsky, 30, split last season between Toronto and Pittsburgh and scored 21 goals in 77 games. That was his fourth 20-goal output in five seasons.

According to, the Kings still have slightly more than $13 million in cap space for next season. They're still hopeful they can grab Kovalchuk if an arbitrator upholds the NHL's rejection of his contract with New Jersey and he becomes a free agent, and they have the space to accommodate him. 

We'll try to talk to General Manager Dean Lombardi later and we'll update you on what he says.

-- Helene Elliott