The Florida Panthers signed Alex Kovalev off the strength of a strong tryout with the team. It looked like a great signing when Kovalev scored a goal and two assists in the Panthers first game of the season. Since then, Kovalev has underwhelmed and according to NHL.com, Kovalev does not figure into the Panther’s plans for the future.
According to GM Dale Tallon, the Kovalev situation should be resolved sometime this week. Kovalev can accept to be sent down to the AHL, accept a buyout or retire. Kovalev has only appeared in 14 games for the Panthers, as he has often been a healthy scratch. Since his three points on opening night, Kovalev has only recorded two points, one goal and one assist.
It seems like the Panthers based their signing of Kovalev around their expectation to be contenders in the Eastern Conference. Kovalev could provide skill on the lower lines and help out on the power play. When Kovalev and the Panthers both struggled out of the gate, Kovalev became expendable. At this point I think Florida would rather give a roster spot to a young player with the potential to develop rather than the 40 year old Kovalev.