If you’ve been following the Nikolai Kovalenko saga for a while now with the Colorado Avalanche, you’d know we’ve mentioned he’s likely coming over once this next KHL season ends.
It’s now starting to become official.
On Saturday morning, his KHL team, Torpedo, announced the Kovalenko will soon be signing with the Avalanche, but will be loaned back to the KHL for the upcoming season.
Нападающий Николай Коваленко продолжит выступать за «Торпедо» на правах аренды. Хоккеист в ближайшее время подпишет контракт с клубом НХЛ «Колорадо Эвеланш», но предстоящий сезон проведет в КХЛ.
Напомним, в 2018 году форвард был выбран на драфте НХЛ под номером 171. pic.twitter.com/y4Z549Lozs
— ХК Торпедо (@torpedonn) July 22, 2023
Here’s the full translation:
“Forward Nikolay Kovalenko will continue to play for Torpedo on loan. The hockey player will soon sign a contract with the NHL club Colorado Avalanche, but will spend the upcoming season in the KHL.
Recall that in 2018, the forward was selected in the NHL Draft at number 171.”
Why is this such huge news? Well, for one, it confirms he’s coming at some point. But two, he would be a nice, cheap addition to Colorado’s lineup, something they desperately need with the salary cap not moving much this summer.
CHN has been on this for a while now. Back in February, I talked to a source who confirmed this exact situation was pretty possible. The plan all along, from what I’ve heard, is for Kovalenko to join the NHL when his KHL season is done.
This paves the way for that.
The final KHL game of the regular season takes place on February 26, 2024. Torpedo pretty easily made the playoffs last year, so expect his season to go a little longer, but their season ended last year on March 22. Kovalenko owns a US Passport, so it’s an easier transition for him than most.
Essentially, once his KHL season is over, he should be able to join the Avalanche. You can look at this is a free deadline acquisition. Kovalenko is 23 years old right now, meaning his ELC would be 2-years, as long as he signs it before he turns 24 on October 17.
It appears his KHL contract was terminated, so this just makes it easier for him to come to North America.
Kovalenko was one of the top scorers in the KHL last year, producing 54 points in 56 games. His .964 point-per-game rate was third best in the league.
We’ve been on top of this for a while, and will continue to be. Stay tuned to CHN on all social media outlets for the latest updates.
If you are interesting in watching Kovalenko or learning more about him, here are links to our three-part film room series on him: