Homecoming: Alexei Kovalev Returns to the Pittsburgh Penguins

Russ GodekContributor IIIApril 8, 2017

Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

Alexei Kovalev, who spent the best years of his career in Pittsburgh, has returned to the Penguins. Pittsburgh sent a seventh-round draft pick to Ottawa in exchange for the Russian sniper.

Kovalev has 14 goals and 13 assists in 54 games this season. He will look to ignite what has been a mostly disappointing and frustrating season for him.

With a good amount of playoff experience under his belt, Kovalev should be able to help a team struggling with injuries.

Kovalev will also instantly improve a power play that hasn't found its scoring touch. If the Penguins can improve their power play numbers, they will be a dangerous threat in the playoffs, as they rank near the top of the league in power play opportunities.

As the Penguins get healthy and head into the playoffs, Kovalev could possibly see himself settle into place alongside Sidney Crosby on the first line.

As for the Senators, they are continuing to shed salary, clean house and rebuild their roster. In the past few weeks, they have sent veterans Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly, Jarkko Ruutu and Brian Eliott out of town. Most of the trades only got them draft picks in return.

The only player they received in return was goalie Craig Anderson from the Colorado Avalanche, who was an improvement over Brian Elliot.

This trade should cap the Penguin's moves for the year in terms of trades. It is unlikely they will add another piece, as they have already added LW James Neal and D Matt Niskanen earlier this week from Dallas.

If the Penguins do look to the trade market again, you can bet on it being for a veteran defenseman to shore up their defense heading into the postseason.