Who could have guessed this was coming? Well, anyone with a heartbeat outside of the Florida Panthers organization. After just 20 games of the season (of which he dressed for 14), former Ottawa Senators winger Alex Kovalev’s time appears to be up in the NHL.
It started out with such promise, as he put up a goal and two assists in his first game with the Panthers, but as Kovalev has done so often in his career, he all but disappeared after that. He contributed just one goal and one assist in the next 13 games he played. As a result, he will be left behind on the Panthers upcoming road trip.
While the Panthers apparently want him to retire so they don’t have to pay him (although it would still count towards the cap, which isn’t a factor for the Panthers), obviously Kovalev wouldn’t want to go in that direction and forfeit whatever pay he was due. He is on a one year, $1M deal with a potential for bonuses of $45oK, which he is obviously not going to reach.
How the Panthers plan on handling him for the rest of the season, but one option would be to waive him, and when nobody claims him, send Kovalev to the minors. They would expect him not to report, so then he would be suspended, thereby forfeiting the remaining $300K or so left on his deal. (via Steve Lloyd of the Team1200)