Montreal Canadiens Shopping Kovalev Actively, Trying To Acquire Whitney?

Fred PoulinCorrespondent IFebruary 11, 2009

Canadiens GM Bob Gainey is reportedly shopping Alexei Kovlev actively, as he has no intention of re-signing the star forward next season.

Kovalev is a pending UFA at season's end, and since Gainey will have to deal with 11 UFA or RFA players come Jul. 1, 2009, he'll have to make some tough choices.

A few teams are looking for offensive help for the Stanley Cup run (Rangers, Penguins, Hurricanes, Predators, Coyotes) and could be interested in Kovalev.

The Penguins would be a perfect trade partner, as they have a plethora of quality defenseman. The Habs and Penguins are currently talking about a potential Ryan Whitney for Alexei Kovalev, plus high picks swap. Whitney is signed for the next four seasons at an affordable $4 million per year. He is having a tough year, as he's trying to recover from an off-season surgery.

Yet he's only 25 years old and he recorded 59 points only two years ago. The 6'4'', 220 pounds, Whitney would add much needed grit and toughness to a soft defensive corps.