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Eight years after being traded, Alex Kovalev is a Pittsburgh Penguin again

Alex Kovalev, Mike Fisher, Erik Karlsson

Alex Kovalev, center, of Russia, celebrates his goal with teammates Mike Fisher, left, and Erik Karlsson, of Sweden, against the Carolina Hurricanes during first-period NHL hockey game play in Ottawa on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009.(AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Pawel Dwulit)


Bob McKenzie reports that the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Alexei Kovalev in a trade with the Ottawa Senators moments ago. The Senators will receive a conditional draft pick in the deal, as they’ll gain a seventh rounder at worst or a sixth round pick if Pittsburgh wins at least one playoff series and Kovalev appears in 50 percent of their games (also according to McKenzie).

If there’s one fan base that still has mostly rosy memories of the talented but crucially flawed right wing, it would be Penguins fans. After all, the Russian winger achieved a career-high 95 point season with the Pens during the 2000-01 season and developed great chemistry on a line with Robert Lang and Martin Straka.

Now it’s important to note that was a long time ago. The team was eventually forced to trade him in February 2003 thanks to a money-related exodus that began the club’s most recent spiral into financial crisis.

Kovalev isn’t the player he once was, but he could pay off to a degree if the Penguins play him in protected situations. That means plenty of power play minutes, no penalty kill time and lots of easy matchups. Kovalev scored 14 goals and 27 points in 54 games in 2010-11. His contract will expire this summer, so it’s a fairly low-risk rental for GM Ray Shero.