Reports out of Russia, indicate the Montreal Canadiens are making a strong run to re-sign forward Alexei Kovalev.
According to Sovietsky Sport, the Canadiens have offered a one-year deal worth between $6 million and $7.5 million.
Apparently, the Canadiens are ready to part ways with Saku Koivu and offer Kovalev the teams captaincy.
Kovalev, 36, did not see eye to eye with Koivu and there was a divided locker room because the two star forwards did not get along.
Despite speculation that Kovalev could entertain offers from Russia, Kovalev and his agent, Scott Greenspun have indicated that Kovalev has no plans to play overseas.
Kovalev scored 26 goals, 39 assists for 65 points during the regular season and is a player of interest to the Pittsburgh Penguins if he hits the open market.
Sources with the Penguins indicate, Kovalev
has always had an interest in returning to Pittsburgh and would not turn down the chance to play with fellow countryman Evgeni Malkin if the price is right.
With the Canadiens reportedly offering up to $7.5 million per season, the chances are slim that Kovalev will test the open market.
Kovalev nearly re-signed with the Penguins in the summer of 2005 following the lockout. Pittsburgh offered a three year deal worth $11 million when free agency opened up.
On the third day of free agency, Kovalev came back to Craig Patrick with the opportunity to match the Canadiens offer of 4 years – $18.5 million and Patrick did not believe Scott Greenspun that the Canadiens offer was that high.
Once Patrick got word from league sources that Kovalev’s representatives weren’t lying, he scrambled to counter the offer but it was too late as the paper work was already being sent to league offices.