Alex Kovalev signs one-year deal with Panthers

Alex Kovalev. is back. (Getty Images)

Alex Kovalev spent the past year talking about his desire to return to the NHL, hoping some team would give him a chance after he spent the 2011-12 season in the KHL.

The Florida Panthers gave him an opportunity in training camp, and he apparently showed them enough to earn a spot on the opening night roster.

The team announced Friday morning that it signed Kovalev to a one-year contract.

Whether or not the 39-year-old forward has anything left to offer remains to be seen.

He last played in the NHL during the 2010-11 season with the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins and was clearly a shell of his former self.

In 74 games, he scored 16 goals to go with 18 assists as his production continued a steep decline that started several years earlier. The Penguins acquired him at the trade deadline for a late-round draft pick in the hopes of squeezing out whatever productive hockey he had left, and it wasn't much.

In 22 KHL games last season, he had just six points (one goal, five assists).

In his prime, Kovalev was one of the most talented and exciting players in the NHL -- and, frankly, one of the more underappreciated players of his era.

He has scored 428 goals in 1,302 NHL games and was a key cog on the New York Rangers' 1994 Stanley Cup team, recording 21 points in 23 playoff games.

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CBS Sports Writer

Adam Gretz has been writing about the NHL and taking an analytical approach to the game since the start of the 2008 season. A member of the PHWA since 2015, he has spent more than three years covering... Full Bio

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