Florida Panthers Bring In Alex Kovalev And Other Veterans To Training Camp


March 24 2011; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Alex Kovalev (72) scores a goal in overtime against Philadelphia Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (35) at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey G. Pittenger-USA TODAY Sports

With training camps set to begin this Sunday, teams are doing all they can to improve their squads heading into the shortened NHL season.  For the Florida Panthers this means bringing in a trio of veteran forwards including Alex Kovalev, Marek Svatos and Andrei Kostitsyn. (Source)  There is a good chance that at least one of these players ends up with the team coming out of training camp and it is possible that all three could make the team. With reported injuries to forwards Marcel Goc, Sean Bergenheim and Shawn Matthias (source) there should be some open spots on the roster.

Alex Kovalev, who will be turning 40 in February, will likely play a role similar to the role played by John Madden on last years team.  He will provide a veteran presence as well as helping out on the power play. If he makes the team, Kovalev will likely spend time on either the third or fourth lines, a place where his 1,024 career points will be more than welcome.

While Kovalev has been skating with the Panthers these past few days, fellow forwards Andrei Kostitsyn and Merak Svatos have yet to make their appearances with the team.  The 27 year old Kostitsyn has already enjoyed some NHL success having logged three 20-goal campaigns in his seven seasons.  Previously on the Nashville Predators, Kostitsyn could end up playing a large role on the Panthers this season. Kostitsyn has top six forward potential, potential he can reach if he can avoid overindulging in the South Florida nightlife.

Merak Svatos at 30 years old, has played in 344 career games scoring 100 goals in that time in addition to 72 assists.  Whether he Kovalev or Kostitsyn will be contributing to the Panthers this season remains to be seen.  These additions are an interesting lead in to what should be an exciting training camp. This is just another example of how GM Dale Tallon is never satisfied with the Panthers roster and is always looking to improve.