After three days of watching other teams around the league sign high-profile UFA’s, fans were beginning to wonder if GM Bob Gainey was going to ever pull anything off. However, he did just that today in bringing back Alexei Kovalev.
Kovalev had a rough start in Montreal after being traded to the Habs in a late season deal with the New York Rangers. He obtained only three points, and was a -4 in the 12 regular season games he played for Montreal in the 03-04 season.
Come playoffs, he became the Kovalev of past, picking up 10 points in the 11 playoff games Montreal played, helping them oust the second seeded Boston Bruins. He gave the fans something they hadn’t had since Guy Lafleur: a superstar forward.
It was obvious that Gainey would need to find a way to re-sign Kovalev, or another player of his caliber, for the now talent-lust fans of Montreal who would have been quite disappointed if he had come up short in this years UFA frenzy.
The signing will re-unite the line that tore apart the Bruins in the first round of the 2004 playoffs. Kovalev will most likely join Saku Koivu and Richard Zednik once again on the Habs’ first line.
Terms of the deal have not yet been released, but sources say that it is a multi-year deal somewhere in the 4-year area. The deal would also most likely be around $3.5-$4.5 million US.