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The Florida Panthers announced Friday that the club has agreed to terms with right winger Alex Kovalev on a one-year contract. The 39-year-old Kovalev is a three-time NHL All-Star who spent the last year playing with
"Alex is a veteran player with great skill and vision who we are pleased to have signed," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said in a press release. "He is a talented forward with playmaking abilities, who has experienced success both at the National Hockey League level and in international competition. We look forward to his contributions to our club both on and off the ice."
Kovalev, 39, has played in 1,302 NHL games with New York (1992-1999 & 2002-2004), Pittsburgh (1998-2003 & 2010-2011), Montreal (2005-2009) and Ottawa (2009-2011). He spent last season with Atlant Moscow Oblast of the Russian Kontinental Hockey League after failing to sign a deal with an NHL team.
In his NHL career, Kovalev has scored 428 goals with 596 assists for 1,024 points. He won a Stanley Cup as a member of the New York Rangers in 1994. Kovalev has recorded at least 50 points in 10 different seasons.
A native of Togliatti, Russia, he is a three-time NHL All-Star (2001, 2003, and 2009). Kovalev has represented the Russian national team eight times during his career, winning gold medals at the 1992 Winter Olympics and 1992 World Junior Championship, and bronze at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Also Friday, the team announced that veteran defenseman Ed Jovanowski has been named team captain for the 2012-13 season. He joins Brian Skrudland (1993-1997), Scott Mellanby (1997-2001), Paul Laus/Pavel Bure (2001-2002), Olli Jokinen (2005-2008) and Bryan McCabe (2009-2011) as the other team captains in the club’s 20-year history. The team did not name a captain last season.
Jovanowski was selected first overall by the Panthers in the 1994 NHL Draft, and rejoined the team in 2011 after spending twelve seasons with the Vancouver Canucks and Phoenix Coyotes. Forward Stephen Weiss and defenseman Brian Campbell were named assistant captains.
Florida opens an abbreviated 48-game regular season schedule on Saturday, hosting the Carolina Hurricanes at 7:30 p.m.