If you remember, Ponikarovsky was a key part of the Devils' run to the Stanley Cup Finals last year, scoring an overtime game winner against the Flyers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The well-traveled veteran has gotten off to a slow start this season with Winnipeg after signing a one-year, $1.8 million deal with the Jets this offseason.
This is apparently a reaction to the news that Dainius Zubrus will be out 2-8 weeks after undergoing exploratory surgery on his wrist this week. As Pierre LeBrun tweeted, the Devils were sad to see Ponikarovsky leave in the first place as Pete DeBoer is "fond" of the forward. So this trade makes sense: the Devils traded for a familiar replacement they trust and the Jets got value in return for a struggling forward who they didn't have long-term plans for.