Report: Kovalev to attend Panthers camp


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.


Richards spoke with Kovalev on Tuesday:

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.

Habs claim Byron off waivers from Flames

Paul Byron
Leave a comment

Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.

Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.

(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)

Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.

Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.

Isles claim goalie Berube off waivers

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jaroslav Halak
Leave a comment

The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.

Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.

That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.

If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.

The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.