Alex Kovalev wants to return to the NHL.
The veteran forward Thursday told the Montreal Gazette he would like to play the 2012-13 season for one of his former teams, with the Montreal Canadiens his top choice.
"Hopefully, I'll find an NHL team," said Kovalev, 39. "The preference is always going to be a team I've played on because you know the environment.
"And I'd definitely like to come back to Montreal. They're all about the young guys, but I can help in all different ways. And I can still play. I have a lot of energy."
Kovalev signed a two-year contract last year to play in the KHL, but has been released from that deal. He was limited by a knee injury to just 22 games.
Kovalev played for the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins before he was traded to Montreal during the 2003-04 season. After four seasons, he signed with the Ottawa Senators as a free agent. He was traded back to the Penguins and played his last NHL game in 2011.
"I always think about having left Montreal," he said. "You make a mistake in life and you learn from it. I would make a different move if I could have that back.
"I'm working hard, training three times a week and keeping in shape. Hopefully, somebody will get interested."