Avalanche sign forward Nikolai Kovalenko to two-year deal

The Colorado Avalanche signed top prospect Nikolai Kovalenko to a two-year, entry-level contract Tuesday.

Kovalenko, 23, is expected to continue to play for Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod in the Kontinental Hockey League in the 2023-24 season.

Last season with the Russian club, Kovalenko recorded career highs in goals (21), assists (33), points (54) and games played (56).

In 72 career games in the MHL, Russia's junior league, from 2015 to '19, Kovalenko notched 17 goals and 33 assists. During this time, he helped his team, Yaroslavl, win back-to-back MHL championships and led the league in assists (11) during the club's first title run in 2017-18.

A sixth-round pick (171st overall) by the Avs in the 2018 NHL draft, Kovalenko is the son of former NHL player Andrei Kovalenko, who was with the Carolina Hurricanes when Nikolai was born in 1999 in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was raised in Russia.

The elder Kovalenko compiled 379 points in 620 games with the Quebec Nordiques, Avalanche, Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, Philadelphia Flyers, Hurricanes and Boston Bruins from 1992 to 2001.