|1993-1994||New York Rangers|
Kovalev became the first player born in Russia to be selected in the first round of the NHL Draft when the New York Rangers took him with the No. 15 pick in 1991, and he was known for his stickhandling, passing and superb wrist shot during a 19-season career.
After helping the Unified Team (composed of players from nations that had been part of the Soviet Union) win the gold medal at the 1992 Albertville Olympics, Kovalev joined the Rangers in 1992-93, scoring 20 goals in his first NHL season. He took on a bigger role in 1993-94, finishing with 56 points (23 goals, 33 assists) during the regular season, then contributing 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in 23 Stanley Cup Playoff games to help the Rangers win their first championship since 1940.