Jan Kovar | C
After the departure of John Tavares, the Islanders had a massive gap down the middle. Mat Barzal would be a capable first line center and Casey Cizikas would continue to be a great fourth line center.
But sandwiched between the two was Brock Nelson and only Brock Nelson. Brock Nelson shouldn’t be a center. He has skills that should be used on the wing rather than down the middle. But when he’s the only option you got, you go with it.
Until Lou Lamoriello brought in point-per-game KHL star Jan Kovar.
The Czech born player spent the last five seasons with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL. If that name sounds familiar its because that’s Nikolai Kulemin’s new team. In those five seasons, Kovar put up 286 points in 285 games played.
Kovar should immediately jump to the Islanders second line center position. Pushing Brock Nelson to the wing, where he can finally be relied on to just shoot the puck. Something Brock does better than most.
The best part of this is Kovar is on a single year $2 million deal. It’s smart risk management by New York Islanders General Manager Lou Lamoriello.
Coming from the KHL we have no idea how his game is going to translate to the NHL. Can he be that point-per-game player? Or will he be something less? At $2 million the risk is absolutely worth it.