Center Jan Kovar has signed a PTO with the Providence Bruins (AHL). He’s going to PLAY games and we will evaluate his NHL options in approx 3 weeks.— Allan Walsh (@walsha) October 18, 2018
Kovar was cut by the Islanders in early October but did not report to Bridgeport of the AHL, leading to the termination of his contract. Kovar signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Islanders in July after spending the last five seasons in the KHL, where he amassed 97 goals, 189 assists, and 286 points in 285 games with the Magnitogorsk Metallurg.
Heading into his first professional season in North America, there were some questions as to whether or not Kovar could produce at the rate he did in the KHL. Russian hockey reporter Igor Eronko had this to say after Kovar’s deal with the Islanders was announced:
Jan Kovar's a good C, but his production could be a bit deceptive, cause he played along Sergei Mozyakin and Danis Zaripov, two great wingers, one of the best in KHL history. That line had a great chemistry. A year ago Zaripov left and Kovar saw a decline in his production https://t.co/jo3pyZY3Hc— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) July 9, 2018
Kovar did not do enough to secure a role on the Islanders, and after not reporting to the AHL, it was reported that he was “taking his time to figure out his next move”, per Arthur Staple of the Athletic.
Well, it seems that Kovar has figured out his next move by joining the P-Bruins. It might only be a tryout agreement, but there is no harm done on a deal like this. For Kovar, he’s getting the opportunity to play, as Walsh stated in his tweet. For the P-Bruins, they’re getting one of the KHL’s best scorers from the last five years for at least the next three weeks. If Kovar fits and some sort of deal is worked out, this is a genius move for Providence, which has not played up to par in the first few weeks of the season.
Jay Leach on Jan Kovar: 'Highly talented center who can make plays. I think he's looking for an opportunity to show what he can do in North America. He's obviously had a lot of experience & success in the KHL'— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) October 18, 2018
Furthermore, if Kovar finds a role and starts putting up points, that could give the Boston Bruins another option at the third line center spot.
The P-Bruins are in action this weekend in a home-and-home series against the very Sound Tigers Kovar opted not to join, but he is not expected to be in the lineup this weekend.
It still remains to be seen if Kovar will be able to acclimate himself to the North American game, but we’ll have to wait and see before making any judgments.