Kovalev already is in Florida skating with current members of the Panthers.
"No one has promised me anything," he told the newspaper. "They just want me to come in and they are hoping I make the team. I don't know. I can't predict anything. I'm just going to do what I'm able to do and we'll see what happens. They could go with the younger guys or something like that. You never know. It's just good to have the chance to come to camp and hopefully make the team."
Kovalev said more than one team asked him about coming to camp, but he said he liked what he had seen from the Panthers organization and coach Kevin Dineen.
"I like the people in the organization and they changed the coach," Kovalev said. "I played against him many times. I know what they have done. I saw what they did last year with the changes and making the playoffs. I feel this is a good place for me, a good environment with the organization and the players."
Kovalev spent last season in the KHL. His most recent NHL experience was with the Pittsburgh Penguins at the end of the 2010-11 season.
Kovalev, who turns 40 next month, was a 1991 first-round pick of the New York Rangers. Between two stints each with the Rangers and Penguins, plus stops in Montreal and Ottawa, he has totaled 428 goals and 1,024 points in 1,302 NHL games.
A member of the Rangers' 1994 Stanley Cup team, Kovalev also has 45 goals and 100 points in 123 playoff games.