In what was increasingly looking like an inevitable parting, the New York Islanders have placed Jan Kovar on unconditional waivers, for purposes of terminating his contract.
The 28-year-old KHL veteran did not report to Bridgeport after the Islanders cut him during camp and assigned him to their AHL team. Earlier this week he was reportedly “figuring out” his next move. That move is...not with the Isles.
Kovář was signed to a one-year, $2 million deal this summer — apparently selecting the Isles over offers from a few NHL teams — but somehow did not make a big impression in training camp during the few opportunities he received.
The Isles had room on the roster to start the season for him, as both Tom Kuhnhackl and Tanner Fritz had cleared waivers. But they kept both of those forwards while assigning Kovar (who did not require waivers) to Bridgeport.
Beyond the usual uncertainty when a KHL player comes to North American pro hockey for the first time, there were some reasons to wonder how much of his prolific KHL production Kovar could replicate on these shores, in a lesser role.
Jan Kovar's a good C, but his production could be a bit deceptive, cause he played along Sergei Mozyakin and Danis Zaripov, two great wingers, one of the best in KHL history. That line had a great chemistry. A year ago Zaripov left and Kovar saw a decline in his production https://t.co/jo3pyZY3Hc— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) July 9, 2018
But it doesn’t feel like the Isles, or Kovar, wanted to do too much heavy lifting to find out. It would’ve been nice to see if he could play a role for the Isles, but that was going to be hard once they set themselves at center and stocked the bottom six with “heavy, hard to play against” guys.
He was signed in July amid the turmoil with a new regime that had just watched John Tavares walk out the door. Perhaps with a few months of hindsight, they regretted that decision. Lucky for them, they found a way out.
Assuming he goes unclaimed, he’ll likely find work with a team back in Europe.