He was invited to Panthers training camp on a professional tryout basis.
Kovalev, 39, last played in the NHL for Pittsburgh and Ottawa during the 2010-11 season. He had 16 goals and 18 assists for 34 points.
In 1,302 career NHL regular-season games with the New York Rangers, Penguins, Montreal Canadiens and Senators, Kovalev has accumulated 428 goals and 596 assists for 1,024 points.
His best offensive season came in 2000-01 with the Penguins when he scored 44 goals and added 51 assists for 95 points.
The three-time All-Star won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 1993-94 and was named NHL All-Star Game MVP in 2008-09 with the Canadiens.