Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy made it known that the decision is ultimately up to general manager Don Sweeney, but the Bruins will make a decision on free agent center Jan Kovar ‘fairly soon,’ according to the third-year bench boss.
“There’s clearly skills. He’s proven that in Providence, he’s put up numbers in the past.” Cassidy acknowledged. “It’s just is he gonna make us a better team or do we like what we have and wanna work with what we have? That’s the ultimate question.”
In the lineup for 12 games with the Providence Bruins earlier this season, with four goals and 10 points for the P-Bruins, Kovar has spent the last week practicing with the Bruins, but remains without a contract of any sort. Productive but considered somebody that may have trouble keeping up with the pace of the NHL (Kovar failed to make the Islanders’ NHL roster out of camp and had his contract terminated), it’s hard to imagine the Bruins and Sweeney needing even more AHL or practice looks at what the 28-year-old forward could bring to a Boston team decimated with injuries (though largely on the backend).
Meaning this is more about that aforementioned developmental road that Cassidy and the Bruins seem to be on this season.
“We’re talking about a guy that’s a little bit farther in his career versus a [Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson], a [Trent] Frederic although he’s not here [in Boston], obviously [Colby] Cave; They’re younger guys,” Cassidy said of the pipeline down the middle. “Are they gonna be better players in two, three months by playing here or are we better off with the older guy?”
Cassidy noted that the Bruins brass and coaching staff have already had this discussion (on multiple occasions) about winger Lee Stempniak, who is set to begin his fourth month of practicing with the Bruins on a professional tryout, but have stuck to their guns of playing the younger wingers, even when struggling.
But the Kovar decision may be a little different, as the Bruins are another pivot injury away from reaching uncomfortable levels of professional inexperience, and already have Joakim Nordstrom playing out of his preferred position of left wing.
Prior to coming overseas, the 5-foot-11 Kovar recorded 97 goals and 286 points in 285 KHL games over the last five seasons, and added 32 goals and 91 points in 83 playoff games over that span. He also represented the Czech Republic at the 2018 Winter Olympics, and scored three goals and five points in six games en route to a fourth-place finish.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has also been a voting member of the Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.