As we prepare to welcome Jaromir Jagr back to the NHL, we will say goodbye to Alexei Kovalev. According to a report from Soviet-Express’ Slava Malamud, Kovalev is set to sign to a two-year deal with Atlant Mytishchi of the KHL.
This shouldn’t really be all that surprising given the statistical dips Kovalev has taken over the last few seasons. While there’s no questioning his talent, it had become apparent that age had started to take its toll on his abilities. Kovalev leaves the NHL (for now, we can’t really rule returns out anymore) having amassed 1,024 points in 1,302 career games. His best statistical season came in 2000-01 when he totaled 95-points for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Kovalev’s slick skill set and deft scoring touch first rose to prominence during the New York Rangers’ 1993-94 Stanley Cup run, when he notched 21 points in 23 games.
Kovalev scored nearly 31% of his 428 career goals on the power play, which is where he was usually at his most dangerous. He averaged 0.79 points per game over 18 seasons. Kovalev started last season as a member of the Ottawa Senators, but was shipped to Pittsburgh in advance of the trade deadline. In 74 games last season Kovalev scored 16-goals and 34-points.
More to come…