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?”