Skoula's inclusion in the deal is simply a salary dump to clear cap space.
With Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin occupying the wings on Sidney Crosby's line, it's likely that Ponikarovsky will join Evgeni Malkin and Ruslan Fedotenko, boosting an offense that has struggled to get production from its forwards. With 19 goals and 41 points in 61 games with Toronto, Ponikarovsky is instantly Pittsburgh's top-scoring winger, and would be the third-leading scorer overall behind Crosby and Malkin.
He has great size (6-foot-4, about 220), plays a solid two-way game and might be able to help a power play unit that has underachieved for much of the season, clicking at a 16.5 percent rate (26th in the league as of Tuesday night). The Penguins have been lacking a "big body" presence to play in front of the net since Ryan Malone went to Tampa Bay following the 2007-08 season; it's possible Ponikarovsky can fill that void for the short-term.
He's eligible for unrestricted free agency after this season.
Caputi, a former fourth-round pick (No. 111 overall in 2007) and Toronto native, was ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Penguins farm system by Hockey's Future. He projects to be a power forward, but still has some room to fill out physically, and based on his brief stints with the Penguins the past two years, still needs to get stronger on the puck and is very much a work in progress. But the potential is certainly there. In terms of value, it's probably a better return than the second-round pick most teams have been getting for their soon-to-be free agents.
During his tenure with the Penguins, Shero has been at his best on -- or near -- deadline day. Two years ago he acquired Marian Hossa, Pascal Dupuis and Hal Gill, setting the stage for a run to the Stanley Cup finals. Last year he brought in Bill Guerin, Chris Kunitz and Craig Adams.
With Ponikarovsky in Pittsburgh, the top wingers remaining on the market appear to be Carolina's Ray Whitney and Columbus' Raffi Torres.