LOS ANGELES — Lou Lamoriello believes Jan Kovar simply changed his mind.
The 28-year-old Czech center, who played the past five seasons in the KHL and had his one-year, $2-million deal with the Islanders terminated on Oct. 11 after he did not report to Bridgeport (AHL), agreed to a professional tryout offer with the Bruins on Thursday.
His agent, Allan Walsh, said via Twitter that Kovar will report to Providence to play in AHL games and then re-evaluate his options in approximately three weeks.
“If he did not make our team, it was the decision that he would be going back [to the KHL],” Lamoriello said. “He did not make the team, which meant he was going back and we could terminate his contract because that was within the rules.
“I have not spoken to him or spoken to his representative,” the Islanders’ president and general manager added. “But he must have decided to give it a shot with somebody else. There’s no animosity. He’s a great person. It was a decision he made and we made also that if he didn’t make our team, it was foolish to play in the AHL at his age.”
Lamoriello said the Islanders were set with Brock Nelson, Mathew Barzal, Valterri Filppula and Casey Cizikas as centers coming out of training camp, as well as other options in case of injury.
Gritty left wing Matt Martin returned to the Islanders’ lineup after being a healthy scratch for the first time this season on Wednesday. The re-acquired fan favorite had one goal and no penalty minutes in his first four games.
“We’ve got a lot of bodies right now,” Martin said. “You never want to not play, but all you can do is control what you can control.”
Defenseman Luca Sbisa and left wing Ross Johnston were back to being healthy scratches after playing Wednesday. Forward Tom Kuhnhackl was a healthy scratch . . . The Islanders do not have a practice scheduled for Friday before concluding the road trip Saturday night in San Jose.