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New York Islanders 3 Biggest Questions for 2018-19 Training Camp

SYOSSET, NY - SEPTEMBER 13: Coach Scott Gordon of the New York Islanders talks to players during rookie training camp at Ice Works on September 13, 2010 in Syosset, New York. (Photo by Lou Capozzola/Getty Images)
SYOSSET, NY - SEPTEMBER 13: Coach Scott Gordon of the New York Islanders talks to players during rookie training camp at Ice Works on September 13, 2010 in Syosset, New York. (Photo by Lou Capozzola/Getty Images) /
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GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA – FEBRUARY 24: Jan Kovar #43 of the Czech Republic shoots against Cody Goloubef #27 of Canada in the third period 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 Harry How/Getty Images) /

Does Jan Kovar Belong in the NHL?

We know how good Jan Kovar can be…in the context of the KHL. We know that he’s put up over a point per game in his five-year KHL career. We know that he’s a good faceoff man with a 56.3 faceoff win percentage. We know all of this, but these are KHL stats.

We have no idea how good he can be at the NHL level. It’s not like the KHL import storyline is linear. Kovar could be a success just like other KHL imports such as Alex Radulov or Evgeni Dadonov. Or he could be a huge bust like Vadim Schipachyov, who lasted three games in the NHL.

We’ve all seen the highlight reels and the stats sheets, but we’ve yet to see Kovar reproduce what we’ve seen in YouTube videos on the smaller NHL surface.

Not helping ease any sort of doubt is that glaring 35 point season last year for Metallurg Magnitogorsk. For his preceding four seasons in the KHL Kovar scored no less than 52 points and topped out at 68 over a 43 game season. How did his production drop to half?

Some would point to the loss of Denis Zapirov from Metallurg as an explanation for the drop in production. Which begs the question, what happens if Kovar makes the team, but slots in lower in the roster, say the third line, can he be productive?

Some of the questions involving Kovar will need a full 82 game sample size to answer, but the main question should be answered in training camp: “does he belong in the NHL?”

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