A Russian sports newspaper reports that the Montreal Canadiens have offered the team's captaincy to pending unrestricted free agent Alex Kovalev and that Saku Koivu is no longer in plans for the team.
According to Sovietsky Sport, the Canadiens don't intend to re-sign Koivu and would opt to re-sign Kovalev to a one-year deal worth between $6 million and $7.5 million. The story also claims that Kovalev would be awarded the captaincy.
The paper adds that Kovalev wants to remain with the Canadiens and negotiations with the team would continue when he returns from holiday. Sovietsky also reports that the Canadiens offered defenceman Mike Komisarek a multi-year contract worth $4 million per season, but the pending unrestricted free agent is holding out for $6 million per season.
Koivu, 34, has been the Canadiens second-longest serving captain. His nine seasons with the 'C' trails only the legendary Jean Beliveau, who was captain for 10 seasons.
"If I'm not signed by July 1, I don't think I'll be back in Montreal," Koivu said last month. "Finishing your career with one team would be awesome in a way, but it's too early to say because I don't know what the team's plan is. We lost yesterday, so I need time to sit down with my family and figure out what's best for us."
Koivu, Kovalev and Komisarek are among 10 Canadiens regulars heading toward unrestricted free agency on July 1. Forwards Alex Tanguay, Robert Lang and Tom Kostopoulos and defencemen Mathieu Schneider, Francis Bouillon, Patrice Brisebois and Mathieu Dandenault are also slated to be free agents.