Alexei Kovalev has rejected Bob Gainey’s initial contract offer and will test the free agent market. Kovalev is set to become a unrestricted free agent on July 1st when his contract expires.
The Canadiens acquired Kovalev in March from the New York Rangers in exchange for prospect Josef Balej and a 2nd round pick in this years entry draft. Kovalev recorded only 3 points in 12 games before turning it up in the playoffs with 10 points in 11 games. Kovalev has 680 points in 849 career games through his 12 years career.
The Canadiens can still re-sign Kovalev, but they know face competition from 29 other teams.
Notes: CKAC reports that the Canadiens will not attempt to re-sign Yanic Perreault, but will try to negotiate with Stephane Quintal on a new contract. They also report that Bob Gainey is willing to make a deal to move up in the draft.