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He’s back: Kovalev signs with Panthers — one year, $1 million

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.

The former Ranger, Penguin, Canadien and Senator has some ties to the Panthers organization. He played with goalie Jose Theodore in Montreal and spent a season with Filip Kuba in Ottawa.

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.

  1. valoisvipers - Jan 18, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    Wow I am shocked.
    Can not believe anyone would waste a roster spot on this guy at his age,and his lack of consistency,effort and passion. I would honestly rather throw a dart at the minor league team roster and call the kid in lands on then use Kovalev.

  2. kingfooj - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    woohoo fantasy waivers here i come!

  3. f2maestro - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Even at 40, I would expect Kovalev to be able to score. The problem (as it always is) is getting him motivated to perform. I don’t see what happening in Florida. In my opinion, I don’t see Kovalev offering any of the qualities a seasoned veteran might offer (leadership, solid locker room presence, ability to guide younger players, etc…) so I see this as a waste of 1mil.

    • f2maestro - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:03 PM

      … I don’t see ‘that’ happening…

      I wish you could edit posts like every other forum…

  4. banger60 - Jan 18, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    Sometimes you have to put the old dog down, he’s gone.

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