The Penguins today reacquired Alexi Kovalev today from the Ottawa Senators for a conditional 7th round pick in the 2011 entry draft. The pick could change to a 6th round one if the Penguins advance beyond the first round of this year’s playoffs and if Kovalev plays in 50% of the games while he is here. Kovalev, who was a member of the Penguins from the 98/99 season until the 02/03 season scored 149 goals during his stay here and racked up 198 assists. He was traded away to the New York Rangers during the 02/03 season playing one more season for them followed by five for the Montreal Canadians and the past two for the Ottawa Senators. It will be interesting to see if his two down season’s in Ottawa had more to do with age catching up with him or from being surrounded by a lack of talent on the Ottawa team.
Kovalev carries a pretty hefty salary of $5 million this season of which Pittsburgh will be responsible for $1,209,677. What is interesting about this trade is that it pretty much uses up all of the available funds that the Penguins have to spend at the deadline, and it is only because of Sidney Crosby being on Long Term Injured Reserve that the Penguins had this money to spend at all. What’s that you say? What about Evgeni Malkin‘s injury? Well folks, that doesn’t kick in until March 4th as you have to miss 11 games before you can be on LTIR. That means that the earliest Crosby can return now is March 5th against Boston.
If we see the Penguins make any more moves before the end of Monday’s trading deadline that don’t involve us losing a player or trading away more salary than we get back, then there will be no simpler way of saying that Crosby will not be back until at least the playoffs when the salary cap no longer is in effect.