Joining his former team mates in the exodus from Ottawa, Alexie Kovalev was the latest Senator to find a new team as he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 7th round conditional draft pick. Kovalev, who used to play with the Penguins for 5 seasons, said being involved again with a franchise run by Mario Lemieux made Pittsburgh a very attractive destination for him.
In the past month the Sens have shipped veterans Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly, Jarkko Ruutu and Brian Eliott out of town while receiving several draft picks but little in the way of actual players other than goalie Craig Anderson. An Olympic gold medalist with Russia in 1992, Kovalev has scored over 400 goals and recorded over 1000 points in his 18-year NHL career.
Earlier in the season Kovalev went public with his general unhappiness in Ottawa and openly complained about his role under head coach Cory Clouston who demoted Kovalev to the fourth line for a period of time. Although Murray could not define exactly why Kovalev never quite seemed comfortable in Ottawa, but admitted that his relationship with Clouston may have been a factor.
It has been a disappointing tenure for Kovalev in Ottawa after signing a two-year, $10 million deal with the team as a free agent in 2009; however the enigmatic Russian sniper has turned up his game as of late. He has 14 goals and 13 assists in 54 games this season. He waived his the ‘no-trade’ clause in his contract in order to get the deal with the Penguins done. He said his biggest regret was being unable to help turn things around in Ottawa.