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Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky (23) of Russia, celebrates as he skates through his second goal against Atlanta Thrashers goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (31) of the Czech Republic, during the first period of an NHL hockey game at Philips Arena, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Gregory Smith

The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded Alexei Ponikarovsky to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for prospect Luca Caputi and defenceman Martin Skoula.

Ponikarovsky, 29, has 19 goals and 22 assists in 61 games for the Leafs this season. The Ukrainian winger was a healthy scratch for Tuesday's game against the Carolina Hurricanes in anticipation of the trade. He was in his ninth season with Toronto, totalling 257 points in 477 games.

Ponikarovsky joins a Penguins team looking to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. Pittsburgh has depth down the middle - with players such as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal - but needs scoring wingers to play alongside its centres, a role Ponikarovsky will get a chance to fill.

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Caputi was selected by the Penguins in the fourth round of the 2007 entry draft. At six-foot-three, 200 pounds, the Toronto native has the size and physical playing style to become an effective NHL power forward.

Caputi, 21, has 47 points in 54 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL this season after scoring 45 points as a rookie. He has appeared in nine games with Pittsburgh over two seasons, scoring twice and adding an assist.

Skoula, 30, has appeared in 33 games with Pittsburgh this season, his 10th in the NHL. The Czech veteran is making US$575,000 this season will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

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