The news is disappointing but expected for the inevitable return of Vasily Ponomarev to the AHL. The Carolina Hurricanes needed assistance on short notice due to injuries with the roster and received that assistance and then some.
At 21 years old, the young Russian took full advantage of his brief trip to the show. Called up and traveling the same day as his game, he jumped right into the play and was able to not just blend in but contribute two points. His first two points in the NHL.
After seeing an NHL game in Washington at a young age, it was a story that came full circle, completing all the milestones in that very same arena. He was able to squeeze in a game in front of the home fans and had some flashes of skill.
Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2020 NHL Draft by the Canes, Ponomarev has had a nice start to his professional career in the AHL, mostly with the Chicago Wolves. The Wolves is where he will return to now but as many know, the Wolves are no longer the Canes AHL affiliate. The Canes do not have an AHL affiliate after parting ways with Chicago.
Ponomarev started the season with the Tuscon Roadrunners of the AHL but returned to Chicago. Last season, he played in 64 games and produced nicely with 24 goals and 46 points. This season, the former 53rd overall pick has 6 goals and 14 assists in 22 games with the two clubs. In 2022, Ponomarev even got some Calder Cup playoff experience and produced 6 points in 18 games.
The youngster has shown that the future is bright. I still believe this group of veterans could use a boost of energy like this more often from youngsters. At the very least it will give some rest to the veterans but could push them more and provide healthy competition.