While there aren’t many centers of note left in free agency, there is one intriguing international player still available in Jan Kovar. According to his agent Allan Walsh (via Twitter), the 28-year-old has received several NHL offers and is close to making a decision on where he’ll play next season.
Kovar has spent the past five seasons with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL where he has shown flashes of offensive dominance. Two seasons ago, he finished tied for seventh in league scoring with 63 points in 59 games and led the KHL in postseason production with 25 points in 18 contests. This led to some speculation he could be NHL bound last summer but he still had one year left on his contract so that didn’t happen.
Last season, his output dropped considerably as he posted just 35 points (7-28-35) in 54 games. However, he played well in the Olympics where he tied for the lead in scoring for the Czech Republic with three goals and two assists in six games en route to a fourth-place finish.
As he is already 28, Kovar will not subject to any entry-level restrictions in his first NHL deal. Although that takes away the potential of adding performance bonuses in his contract, teams will be able to offer greater than a $925K base salary if they so desire. A top-six spot right away isn’t likely but there should be teams willing to give Kovar a look on their third line to start next season.