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Editorials

New York Islanders 2018-19 Season Center Depth Chart

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 22: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on January 22, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Islanders 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 22: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on January 22, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Islanders 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA – FEBRUARY 24: Jan Kovar #43 of the Czech Republic celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in the third period against Canada during the Men’s Bronze Medal Game on day fifteen of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Hockey Centre on February 24, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Jan Kovar

2017-18 Stats: 7G, 28A, 35P (Magnitogorsk Mettalurg, KHL)
Cap Hit: $2 million | 1 Year

The KHL import doesn’t have a great stat line for the 2017-18 season. In 54 games played, Kovar had his worst statistical season in his five-year KHL career. Before that, he was averaging 63 points per year.

In total, Kovar had 286 points in 285 games played. If he can recreate that kind of form in the NHL the 28-year-old’s single year $2 million contract will be an absolute gem.

That’s why Kovar, a natural center is second on the list. When he was surrounded with quality players like Denis Zapirov and Sergei Mozyakin he could produce. Put Josh Bailey and Anthony Beauvillier on his wing and Kovar could replicate what he did in the KHL.

But as well know there’s no guarantee of that. Jan Kovar was over a point-per-game player in the KHL. The caliber of play between the NHL and the KHL isn’t comparable. Some players can come to the NHL from Russia and be successful. Alex Radulov is a recent example.

But there are examples of the opposite as well. Players who have success in the KHL who come to the NHL and fail. Look at Vadim Shipachyov with the Golden Knights last season.

Kovar could be an absolute flop in the NHL, leaving the Islanders with a deep hole down the middle. The Islanders could be looking at a second line center named Valtteri Filppula or Brock Nelson if that happens.

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