Pens send Caputi, Skoula to Leafs

Updated: March 3, 2010, 11:55 AM ET
By Pierre LeBrun | ESPN.com

The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired winger Alexei Ponikarovsky from the Toronto Maple Leafs on the eve of the NHL's trade deadline, in exchange for prospect Luca Caputi and veteran defenseman Martin Skoula.

Ponikarovsky, earning $2.5 million this season, is slated for unrestricted free agency July 1 and has long been on the trade market for the rebuilding Maple Leafs. In Pittsburgh, the solid two-way winger could be a nice complement to either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.

The 21-year-old prospect Caputi, a Toronto native, was a fourth-round pick, 111th overall, of the Penguins in the 2007 NHL entry draft. Caputi had 47 points (23-24) in 54 games with the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins this season also posted one goal and one assist in four NHL games with Pittsburgh.

Skoula was thrown into the trade to make the deal work for cap seasons on Pittsburgh's end. He's earning $575,000 this season and will be an unrestricted free agent July 1.

The trade deadline is at 3 p.m. ET Wednesday. The Penguins also added defenseman Jordan Leopold on Monday, also a player slated for unrestricted free agency July 1.

Pierre LeBrun covers the NHL for ESPN.com.