Skating alongside NHL veteran Ilya Kovalchuk will be like playing with a legend, Capitals center Lars Eller told The Sports Junkies on Tuesday.
The Capitals acquired the 36-year-old winger from Montreal on Sunday ahead of the NHL trade deadline, giving up a third-round pick in 2020. “Kovy” was a star in the league even before fellow countryman Alex Ovechkin, making his professional debut with the now defunct Atlanta Thrashers in 2001-02. Ovi arrived in the NHL in 2005-06. Both are former top overall draft picks.
Kovalchuk has 872 career points on 442 goals and 430 assists, which ranks 14th in the NHL among active points leaders, despite playing six seasons in Russia’s KHL. Coincidentally enough, Nicklas Backstrom is 13th on the list with 923 career points. He is still fourth among active goals leaders.
“For me, that guy has like legendary status,” Eller said during his weekly 106.7 The Fan appearance, driven by AAA. “I remember watching highlights of the guy when I was a kid.”
“The guy was a real superstar,” he said. “When I came into the league, he was right up there with the biggest names in the league, so it’s pretty cool for me to be able to play on the same team as him.”
“I think the last game we played with Montreal here a couple weeks ago, he looked very energetic. He looked like he was on,” Eller said. “He was still doing things.…