Maple Leafs ride Poni

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:51 AM ET

Alexei Ponikarovsky has cashed in on his 21-goal season by signing a three-year contract extension with the Maple Leafs.

The deal, signed yesterday, is worth an average of $2.1 million US per season.

He is scheduled to earn approximately $1.575 million in 2007-08, $2.3 million the following year and $2.5 million in the final year of his contract.

Playing much of the season alongside captain Mats Sundin, Ponikarovsky, 27, had 21 goals, 24 points and finished plus-8 in 2006-07.

Ponikarovsky made $725,000 last season.

The signing comes just two days after defenceman Ian White agreed to a three-year, $2.55-million pact.

MARCHANT IN LINEUP

Anaheim Ducks centre Todd Marchant is expected to play tonight in Game 1 of the Western Conference final against the Detroit Red Wings after missing more than a month because of a torn groin.

"Todd has been cleared to play by the medical staff," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said yesterday. "We've pushed Todd as far as the conditioning aspect of it, because it's not easy for any player to miss the amount of time he's missed and not participate in the first two rounds of the playoffs, then expect him to come back in and be (effective)."

HI BOSS, NICE TO SEE YOU

Red Wings centre Valtteri Filppula works for Ducks star Teemu Selanne during the summer.

Filppula, 23, has been an instructor for the past three years at a hockey school operated by Selanne, 37, in Katinkulta, Finland. The NHL rookie was 12 when he first met Selanne. He got an autograph he always has prized.

"It's great to see how he's getting better and better," Selanne said of Filppula. "I really think he's a really good all-around player now.

"When you have all the tools, the skills and skating ability, they're all the things that you need. I'm expecting he's going to be a really important player for them down in the future. He's the first Finnish guy who has played (for Detroit), so it's something new here."


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