Alexei Kovalev is taking another kick at the can.
That’s the word out of Florida on Tuesday — the veteran forward has reportedly accepted an invite to Panthers training camp, according to George Richards of the Miami Herald.
Kovalev, who will turn 40 in February, last played in the NHL during the 2010-11 season, racking up 16G-18A-34PTS in 74 games split between Ottawa and Pittsburgh.
He spent the 2011-12 season with KHL Atlant and has been without a club this year, spending most of his time rehabbing a bothersome knee (though he did practice with Swiss second division team Martigny for a spell.)
Kovalev does have some ties to the Panthers organization. He played with goalie Jose Theodore in Montreal and spent a season with Filip Kuba in Ottawa.
Of note, Kovalev won’t be the only reclamation project attending Florida’s training camp. Another veteran forward, Marek Svatos, will also be participating after taking last year off to recover from injury.
Kovalev said a few teams asked him about coming to camp, but he seems to like the Panthers and Kevin Dineen.
“I like the people in the organization and they changed the coach. I played against him many times. I know what they have done, I saw what they did last year with the changes and making the playoffs. I feel this is a good place for me, a good environment with the organization and the players.”
“No one has promised me anything. They just want me to come in and they are hoping I make the team. I don’t know. I can’t predict anything. I’m just going to do what I’m able to do and we’ll see what happens. They could go with the younger guys or something like that. You never know. It’s just good to have the chance to come to camp and hopefully make the team.”
It sounds like ex-Canadien and Predator Andrei Kostitsyn will also be at Florida’s training camp.