According to reports from Pavel Lysenkov, Alexei Kovalev is back in New York and is preparing a return to the NHL. He’s skating with some players on the Rangers now and is maybe looking for a contract after the lockout ends.
It’s unknown whether or not Kovalev would like to play with the Rangers specifically.
First off, let me just say how hilarious it would be to see Kovalev play for Torts. That alone would just be worth it to see Kovy back in blue. Kovalev’s skills however, have diminished significantly.
This isn’t Jaromir Jagr returning to the NHL, the is Kovalev. Jagr left the NHL on a high note, and also continued his success in the KHL. He played three full seasons at or around a point per game there. I wanted Jagr on the Rangers when he was going to return but everyone seemed to have doubted him and the Rangers never offered him a deal. Perhaps Jagr and Sather didn’t have the best of relationships.
Anyway, back to Kovalev. Kovalev played 22 games last year in the KHL and had 6 points to show for it. Not exactly lighting up the league in his late 30’s. I don’t think the Rangers should take a risk on him. His style of play has never screamed that he could play well under Tortorella and I don’t think he’d start to play that way.
I do however think Kovalev could still play at the NHL level for some team. A team like the Panthers would probably welcome him to play on their power play unit and help get fans in the seats. He won’t score thirty goals, but I think he could put up 30-35 points if given ample power play time, offensive zone starts, and play against weaker competition.
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