If he plays well, they can flip him for a draft pick at the deadline.. How well he plays determines how good the pick could be.
The Sens traded him two years ago at the deadline for a 7th round pick, and that was with Kovalev having put up 0.5 points a game at the time. Then he bombed in Pittsburgh for the rest of the year, then bombed in the KHL (1 goal, 5 assists and a -14 in 22 games) last season and now he's almost 40 years old. Maybe the BJs could get a very late pick for him again, but IMO he'd be a waste of money and of a roster spot until then. His pure talent allowed Kovie to coast through his NHL career but now age has finally caught up with him, and he's done.
As a habs fan I'd love to see him back in the NHL though and hope the best for him but I don't think this will turn out well for him, he's nearly 40 and his last 2 seasons with Ottawa weren't that great.
Would be interesting to use him in a limited offensive focused manner. So 10-11 minutes per game, taking offensive zone first line minutes and powerplay time, while otherwise rotating their other 3 right wingers.
Unless he's somehow turned a corner regarding his work ethic, which at this point in his career is highly unlikely, I don't see him having a lot of success in Columbus. Maybe he can still be useful as a PP guy and as a veteran voice in the room, but as a player I don't know that he has much to offer anymore.
This was before the lockout took place(no Davidson). Now that Davidson is on board, I can see him saying no. Also, not sure why giving him a tryout offer is bad. If he plays well in training camp/pre season, great, take the chance and sign him to a one year deal. If he sucks, let him go. He didn't cost any money and he didn't take a roster spot from a young guy.