When you have an aging (37 years old) forward who is as enigmatic and expensive ($5 million annual cap hit) as Alexei Kovalev is, it’s not surprising that he’s under serious media scrutiny. Once you combine those factors with the locations of his last two stays (in hockey-mad Montreal and now Ottawa) and his expiring contract, it’s almost natural that he’s under a microscope right now.
The first round of rumors highlighted the possibility of Kovalev returning to the Montreal Canadiens, but now that those random bits of scuttlebutt dissolved, the Ottawa media needs some other team to focus on.
Enter the bruised and battered St. Louis Blues. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports that the team might be interested in trading for Kovalev once their ownership situation gets cleared up a bit in early 2011.
The reason for Garrioch’s anonymous source-based assumptions is somewhat reasonable; after all, the Blues are wounded with David Perron, Andy McDonald and T.J. Oshie on the shelf.
Though he has denied making a trade request to Senators GM Bryan Murray, judging by the 37-year-old winger’s comments Friday about Clouston, it would appear Kovalev wouldn’t mind getting dealt.
“The Blues need forward help … badly,” said a league executive Saturday.
The battered and beaten Blues are without injured LW David Perron, C T.J. Oshie, C Andy McDonald and D Roman Polak. But they can’t make a move until their ownership situation is settled.
Sources say there is an investor ready to put more money into the Blues. That won’t happen until Jan. 1 for tax purposes, which means the club can’t afford to take on the rest of Kovalev’s $5-million (all terms US) salary for now.
So take these rumors with the typical grain of salt. The Blues are without some vital players and could always use a little finesse to go with their big, burly group of forwards. Still, $5 million is a steep price for a hit-or-miss scorer like Kovalev, even if the Senators have paid some of that salary already.
As always, we’ll keep you up to date as the rumors keep streaming in … and maybe even get a legitimate trade to report upon at some point too.