Lafleur: Re-sign Kovalev, not Koivu

Canadiens captain Saku Koivu and star forward Alex Kovalev are both headed into the final year of their contracts, both unrestricted free agents on July 1, 2009.

In his weekly Journal de Montréal column today, Canadiens icon Guy Lafleur suggests the club focus on re-signing Kovalev and let Koivu go, saying: "I have the conviction that Kovalev is more useful to the Canadiens than the captain, especially if (Kovalev) continues to play as he did this year."

Lafleur adds: "Not that Koivu doesn’t have his place on the team or that he hasn’t given everything to the Habs during his career in Montreal. But business is business and the best possible team must be given to the fans.

"In this regard, Koivu is an excellent (chip) who could bring interesting dividends (in return)."

Koivu will earn $4.75 million next season, $250,000 more than Kovalev.

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