Senators' Kovalev untradeable: NHL execs

Senators fans aren’t likely to get their wish when it comes to Alex Kovalev this summer.

While the winger took it on the chin in last Sunday’s Ottawa Sun You Be The Boss poll in which 71% of respondents wanted the Russian dealt, three NHL executives doubt it’s going to happen.

After all, having a one-year, $5-million (all terms US) contract, being 37 years old and coming off surgery for a torn ACL and being generally inconsistent in 2009-10 … there just aren’t going to be too many suitors.

“I don’t think anybody is going to want him,” a league executive said Saturday. “Sure, they could try to see if anybody wants to take him, but he’s a high-risk, low-reward player. There’s not a big market for those types of players.”

Kovalev , who was signed to a two-year, $10-million deal as an unrestricted free agent last July, was one of the Senators’ most puzzling players before he suffered a knee injury that forced him to miss the playoffs. He had 18 goals and 31 assists in 77 games, but always left fans wanting more.

“I don’t think they could trade him,” said another league executive. “He suffered a knee injury, he’s an older player, he makes a lot of money and by the sounds of it, I don’t think he’s going to retire, is he?

“The book on him, always, in the last two or three years, was that if you hit him, he was going to pack it in. He’s got that element to his character and the older he gets, the more of the chance there is he’s going to pack it in. There are some nights you wonder if he’s just going through the motions.”

There is a belief that Kovalev might be motivated by the fact he’s going into the final year of his contract. He would be well-served to have a good start with the Senators to make himself a marketable commodity at next year’s trade deadline.

He stated after he signed with the Senators last summer he’d like to finish his career with the Canadiens. The Habs offered Kovalev a two-year, $9-million deal on July 1 last summer, but they pulled the deal off the table when he waffled.