The New York Islanders made a quick decision in training camp that Jan Kovar had been a mistake, terminating his contract just a few months after signing him to a one-year $2MM deal. Many expected Kovar to return overseas to play in the KHL or another European league after clearing waivers, but as Mark Divver of the Providence Journal reports, he’s now signed on with the Providence Bruins of the AHL on a professional tryout agreement. That would suggest that the Boston Bruins are at least willing to take a look at him to see if he can help their organization, either at the NHL or AHL level.
Kovar, 28, signed out of the KHL but ended up failing to make the Islanders out of training camp. When the team tried to send him to the minor leagues, he didn’t report and eventually agreed to a mutual termination. It’s interesting that he’s now willing to play at the AHL level, after refusing to do so just a few weeks ago with the Islanders. His agent, Allan Walsh of Octagon Hockey, tweeted out that Kovar plans on playing for Providence for a few weeks before evaluating his “NHL options.” It was believed that there was more than one suitor who approached the Czech forward this summer, and perhaps someone else will come forward with a new contract.
It’s not hard to see why there was interest, given Kovar’s success in the KHL. Though his 2017-18 was a down year with just 35 points, he’d recorded four straight seasons of at least 20 goals and 50 points prior to that, and had previously dominated the Czech professional league as well. There’s plenty of talent there, and experience at the international level against some of the world’s best players. Kovar has competed in several World Championships for the Czech Republic, and even suited up at the last Olympic Games, leading his country with five points in six games.
If there’s enough there for the Bruins to take a look, one has to wonder if they would sign the veteran forward to try and give the team another offensive option lower in the lineup. Sometimes referred to as a “one line team” this season, Boston has been relying heavily on the trio of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak to create offense. In fact, David Krejci is the only other forward on the team with more than two points, and even he hasn’t scored a goal this season. Giving Kovar a place to play for a few weeks doesn’t hold much risk, and could potentially pay off for the team in the long run.