The Montreal Canadiens have dealt veteran forward Ilya Kovalchuk to the Washington Capitals mere months after acquiring him.
Ilya Kovalchuk’s journeyman season continues, as the 36-year-old Montreal Canadiens forward has been traded to the Washington Capitals. In return, the Canadiens will get a third-round pick in the upcoming 2020 NHL draft.
Montreal also retained 50 percent of Kovalchuk’s league-minimum salary in the deal with the Capitals.
Kovalchuk began the 2019-20 NHL season with the Los Angeles Kings, playing just 17 games and totaling nine points — with just three goals — during that timespan. The Kings then healthy scratched Kovalchuk for a handful of games before they then released him from his contract in December.
In January, the Canadiens scooped up Kovalchuk off of free agency on a one-year, two-way contract worth $700,000 at the NHL level.
Since his return to an NHL lineup, Kovalchuk saw a resurgence in his play, with 13 points in 22 games for Montreal. Kovalchuk tallied six goals — with three of them game winners — in his time with the Canadiens, as he was trusted with nearly four more minutes of ice time in Montreal than he had in Los Angeles to start the season.
Kovalchuk is not the prolific goal scorer he used to be in his prime, but can no doubt add depth to the Capitals’ middle-six, plus he could see time on a power play unit to round out the team’s scoring punch.
The Capitals are gearing up for a playoff push of their own, as Washington sits first in the Metropolitan Division with 82 points and a 38-18-6 record. Washington has struggled as of late, however, going 3-6-1 in their last 10 games and allowing the rival Pittsburgh Penguins to catch up in the tight division standings they find themselves in.
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