Caps Trade for Ilya Kovalchuk

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Posted February 23, 2020

The Caps picked up Russian forward Ilya Kovalchuk from the Montreal Canadiens for a 2020 third round pick, the team announced just now, and Montreal will retain 50 percent of Kovalchuk’s salary and cap hit.

“Ilya is a talented offensive player who we feel will provide us with additional depth and flexibility up front,” MacLellan said of Kovalchuk, 36. “He is a skilled forward who can make plays and contribute to our offensive game.”

Kovalchuk has 13 points in 22 games with the Canadiens and another nine points in 17 games with the Los Angeles Kings this season. He even played with Coach Todd Reirden while in Atlanta.

Kovalchuk has played against the Caps 57 times in his career, mostly with Atlanta, scoring 29 goals and adding 30 assists. He once got into a bizarre fight with Mike Green:

This is an interesting pick-up for the Caps, who clearly aren’t taking a big risk with the salary or what they’re giving up, but Kovalchuk is well past his prime. That said, with Alex Ovechkin is likely thrilled about the pick-up, so maybe another Russian on this team will give them that Red Army magic, or something.