Alexei Kovalev is a Russian winger on the Ottawa Senators.
Originally drafted 15th overall by the New York Rangers in 1991, Kovalev is widely regarded as one of the most gifted offensive players in the game today. Kovalev won his first Stanely Cup with the Rangers in 1994, becoming one of the first four Russians to have their names on the Cup. Kovalev was traded to Pittsburgh in 1998, where he had some of his strongest seasons, putting up a career high 44 goals, 51 assists and 95 points, as well as 96 penalty minutes, in 2000-01. He was traded back to New York in 2003, but did not play nearly as well as he had in previous seasons. In 2004, at the trade deadline, the Canadiens acquired his rights, and he saw his career rejuvenated in Montreal, where he scored 84 points in 2007-08. He was also an alternate captain on the squad. In 2008-09, Kovalev scored 26 goals and 65 points for the Habs, earning the honor of being named captain of the Eastern Conference All-Stars at the All Star Game in Montreal. He was also named MVP of the game after scoring two goals and the game-winning shootout goal. Unfortunately, the Canadiens’ centennial season ended in a first-round playoff exit, and Kovalev was not re-signed by the team. Shortly after the opening of free agency, Kovalev was picked up by one of the Canadiens’ division rivals, the Ottawa Senators.
Kovalev has played for the Soviet Union and Team Russia 11 times, winning 2 silver medals, 2 gold medals and a single bronze.
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