Jan 18, 2013, 10:54 AM EDT
After a one-year hiatus, Alexei Kovalev is back in the NHL.
That’s the story out of Sunrise on Thursday as the Florida Panthers announced they’ve signed the soon-to-be-40-year-old to a one-year deal.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the contract is for $1 million and includes some games-played bonuses.
Kovalev — who’ll turn 40 on Feb. 24 — hasn’t played in North America since skating with Pittsburgh during the 2010-11 season.
He returned to his native Russia for the 2011-12 season, playing 22 games with Atlant Moscow Oblast before suffering a knee injury that derailed his campaign.
Kovalev spent the summer and lockout without a team, focusing on rehab and getting healthy, though he did practice with Swiss second division team Martigny for a spell.
According to Harvey Fialkov of the Florida Sun-Sentinel, Kovalev has been skating on the Panthers’ second line along with Peter Mueller, and is working on the Panthers’ second power-play unit with Tomas Kopecky and Jonathan Huberdeau.
- Quenneville opted for ‘fresh legs’ by inserting Nordstrom, Versteeg into lineup 2
- Video: Ducks hold off Blackhawks in Game 3 to take series lead 15
- (Video) PHT Extra: On Babcock, sticking to the process and housebuilding analogies 3
- Babcock predicts ‘pain’ for Leafs, who are a ‘massive, massive challenge’ 35
- Babcock wants to ‘put Canada’s team back on the map’ 44
- Flyers won’t trade Del Zotto, but ‘something will have to give’ on crowded blue line 21
- What’s wrong with Lundqvist? 70
- It goes to eleven: Lightning edge Rangers in track meet 34
- Brodeur signs three-year deal to be Blues’ assistant GM 12
- Reports: Sabres thought they had a deal with Babcock, aren’t happy 172
- Reports: Sabres thought they had a deal with Babcock, aren’t happy (172)
- Leafs land Babcock with reported 8-year deal, estimated at $50 million (130)
- Russia to be punished for ‘completely out of order’ actions after Worlds final loss to Canada (90)
- Report: Sabres negotiating with Babcock (82)
- What’s wrong with Lundqvist? (70)