Birth Date: 2/24/1973
Birth Country: Russia (Togliatti)
Year Drafted: 1991
Round Drafted: 1
Overall Choice: 15
Salary 2003/04: $6,600,000.00 (UFA – July 1st, 2004)
Children: Nikita (2002), Ivan (2004)
One of the NHL’s most dangerous players with the puck, Kovalev was drafted 15th overall by the New York Rangers at the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. He joined the Rangers in 1992-93, scoring a goal in his first game, Oct. 12, 1992. He finished his rookie campaign with 38 points (20 goals, 18 assists) in 65 games. Kovalev helped the Rangers capture the 1994 Stanley Cup, contributing nine goals and 12 assists in 23 Stanley Cup Playoff games. In 1998, New York traded Kovalev to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a five-player deal that brought Petr Nedved to the Rangers. With Pittsburgh, Kovalev became even more of an offensive force, totaling 95 points (44 goals, 51 assists) in 2000-01. The left-handed shooting winger also lit up penalty-killing units for 12 goals that season. From 1999-2002, Kovalev tallied 29 power-play goals.