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Ilya Kovalchuk | Winger | #17

Team: New Jersey Devils
Age / DOB:  (34) / 4/15/1983
Ht / Wt:  6'2' / 230
Drafted: 2001 / Rd. 1 (1) / ATL
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Ilya Kovalchuk is reportedly unlikely to end up with the New York Islanders or Rangers.
The Rangers were previously listed as one of the teams gunning for Kovalchuk, but they've reportedly pulled out of the bidding while the Islanders are also apparently not interested. Kovalchuk would need to sign with the New Jersey Devils and then have them trade him to the team of his choosing, so in addition to whatever his salary would be, any team interested in Kovalchuk would also need to provide the Devils with assets to make it worth their while. St. Louis, San Jose, and Toronto have also been previously cited as possible destinations for Kovalchuk. Jun 9 - 4:07 PM

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The Columbus Blue Jackets have reportedly joined the list of teams interested in acquiring Ilya Kovalchuk.

Kovalchuk has spent the last four seasons in the KHL, but he's considering returning to the NHL for the 2017-18 campaign. The thing is that Kovalchuk's only way of getting back in the NHL is by signing with the New Jersey Devils. He was originally signed with the Devils and got out of his contract by retiring and then immediately heading to the KHL, which is why they still control his NHL rights. That being said, the Devils have the option of signing and then immediately trading Kovalchuk, which is a very real possibility. St. Louis, the New York Rangers, Toronto, and San Jose have also been thrown out there as possible destinations for Kovalchuk.
Jun 5 - 2:58 PM

The New York Post is reporting that more than six teams have been in touch with the New Jersey Devils regarding Ilya Kovalchuk.

Some of the teams that have shown interest are St. Louis, the Rangers, Toronto and San Jose. GM Ray Shero is in a bind because it has become apparent that Kovalchuk, who has spent the last four seasons in the KHL, does not want to play for New Jersey, but the Devils will lose any compensation after the 2017-18 season is completed. In other words, if Kovalchuk decides to play another year in the KHL, he will turn 35 and become an unrestricted free agent. The Devils therefore have to do something this off-season and not lose all rights to the talented winger. Stay tuned.
Source: NY Post
Jun 4 - 8:50 AM

Devils GM Ray Shero is in a holding pattern when it comes to Ilya Kovalchuk.

Shero's understanding is that Kovalchuk is interested in returning to the NHL, but the Devils GM is waiting to see where Kovalchuk would want to play. Kovalchuk would have no choice but to sign with New Jersey if he wants to return to the NHL for the 2017-18 campaign, but the Devils would have the option to then turn around and trade him to a team of Kovalchuk's choosing. "I can't go out calling teams because that's a waste of my time," Shero said. "He's going to tell [us] where he wants to play and in the end, if that does work out and it's not the Devils, then I've got to see if that makes sense for us to do that." Shero added that any sign-and-trade would have to make sense for the Devils, so if Kovalchuk does insist on playing somewhere else then we imagine that New Jersey will receive something substantive as compensation. It's also worth noting that he can't sign before July 1, so this matter won't be resolved in the near future.
Source: NHL.com
Jun 1 - 6:41 PM

It's possible that Ilya Kovalchuk will end up returning to the NHL, but not play for the New Jersey Devils.

Kovalchuk got out of his contract with New Jersey by retiring and then signing with a KHL squad, so if he wants to return to the NHL then he has to sign with the Devils. However, New Jersey would be allowed to sign him and then immediately trade him to another club. Such a move could make sense for both sides as the rebuilding Devils might not be able to make proper use of the 34-year-old forward and likewise, Kovalchuk's preference is likely to play for a team in win-now mode at this stage of his career. Plus a sign-and-trade could provide the Devils with some valuable assets that they otherwise wouldn't get if Kovalchuk doesn't return at all. He can't sign until July 1 at the earliest, so this situation will remain on hold for at least a little while longer.
May 26 - 10:16 AM

Devils GM Ray Shero has confirmed that Ilya Kovalchuk wants to return to the NHL next season.

Shero has given Kovalchuk's agent, Jay Grossman, permission to talk to other teams, so that a possible sign and trade could be an option. Kovalchuk is still on the NHL's voluntary retirement list, so he can't be moved until he signs a new deal with New Jersey. He can't officially sign a new contract until July 1.
Source: TSN.ca
May 9 - 2:39 PM

Ray Shero spoke to the media and said he plans to speak to Ilya Kovalchuk's agent soon to gauge the Russian winger's interest in returning to the NHL.

What a coup that would be for the Devils if they could bring Kovalchuk back to the NHL. Hall and Kovalchuk would be quite the tandem on the first line and on the power play. Kovalchuk is scheduled to undergo a knee procedure, which is ruling him out of the World Hockey Championships. Shero also added that Kovalchuk could sign with any NHL franchise as long as every NHL team agrees. We wouldn't bet on the Devils relinquishing their rights to the talented Russian. It might be Devils or nothing for Kovalchuk if he chooses to return. This saga will probably drag on into the summer.
Apr 29 - 6:38 PM

Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet is reporting that Ilya Kovalchuk wants to return to the NHL.

Kovalchuk left the New Jersey Devils at the end of the 2012-13 season to play in his native Russia by 'retiring' from the NHL. The sniper is only 34 years of age and had 417 goals and 816 points in 816 games before bolting to the KHL. He may or may not return to New Jersey and if not, a team will have to pay the Devils a pretty penny. "The New Jersey Devils own his rights, he could sign and play for them no problem," said Friedman on Hockey Night in Canada. "If he wants to play for somebody else, technically all the other NHL teams would have to approve it. But here's the way that this I think is going to work: if he doesn't want to play for New Jersey or if New Jersey doesn't want him playing for them, and neither the agent nor the team is commenting on this, I think whoever gets him is going to work out either a sign and trade with New Jersey or they’re going to trade for his rights."
Apr 23 - 7:49 AM

The KHL has gained permission from the British Ice Hockey Association to place a team in London.

Placing a KHL team in London would be an interesting premise, but it would also be a difficult sell. Hockey hasn't been particularly successful in the United Kingdom to date, so there may be difficulty generating interest. At the same time, if the KHL is successful in growing the game in the UK then it would be opening the door to a potentially huge market. The KHL has been bold in its expansion, with teams sprouting up in Eastern Europe and they'll soon have a club in China as well.
Fri, Jul 15, 2016 11:27:00 PM

Ilya Kovalchuk will reportedly play for the KHL's expansion team in China next season.

Kovalchuk has appeared to have a falling out with SKA St. Petersburg. That led to speculation that he might return to the NHL, but it now seems like that scenario won't play out in the near term.
Thu, Mar 24, 2016 01:38:00 PM

Ilya Kovalchuk and SKA St. Petersburg appear to be in the middle of a feud that might result in the superstar leaving the KHL team.

SKA has made Kovalchuk a healthy scratch for four straight games and taken away his captaincy. It's been speculated that the diminished value of the Russian Ruble along with the KHL's financial issues might have led the SKA to try to push Kovalchuk to break his contract. That's led for some to think that this will all end with Kovalchuk returning to the NHL, but we'll have to wait and see. For his part, Devils GM Ray Shero hasn't heard anything from Kovalchuk's camp. Kovalchuk got out of his old contract with New Jersey by retiring and the Devils would get preferential rights if Kovalchuk wanted to return to the NHL, per NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly.
Tue, Mar 1, 2016 09:42:00 AM

The Russian Hockey Federation has been fined 80,000 Swiss francs ($85,000) by the IIHF for leaving the ice before Canada's national anthem was played at the 2015 World Championship.

The Russian team exited the ice after receiving their silver medals. The IIHF ruled that captain Ilya Kovalchuk gave an "unmistakable head gesture" as a signal for his teammates to skate off the ice. Russia claimed the players were confused after the rink-side gate was left open, but it was fairly clear that they were upset after a 6-1 loss and weren't in the mood for sportsmanship.
Mon, Aug 24, 2015 11:15:00 AM

Ilya Kovalchuk isn't ruling out the possibility that he'll eventually return to the NHL.

Kovalchuk has two years left on his contract with SKA St. Petersburg though, so you shouldn't count on him coming back anytime soon. Kovalchuk left the Devils after the 2013 shortened campaign and he helped St. Petersburg win its first title this year. He also turned 32 in April, so keep in mind that if he returns to the NHL, he will be past his prime.
Tue, May 5, 2015 06:01:00 PM

SKA St. Petersburg won their first KHL title on Sunday.

Ilya Kovalchuk scored two goals in the series clinching win over AK Bars Kazan. St. Petersburg has one of the highest payrolls in the KHL but it's the first time they even make it to a final. It's been a tough season for the KHL, as they have gone through some financial trouble. Several teams are reportedly considering pulling out of the league next season.
Source: ESPN.com
Sun, Apr 19, 2015 02:32:00 PM

New Jersey GM Lou Lamoriello and owner Josh Harris confirmed that a return for Ilya Kovalchuk hasn't entered their minds since he left the team.

"I'll answer that the best way you can. He cannot come back until he is 35," Lamoriello said. "He's (31) now. You'd never look at someone coming back at 35 when he's (31)." Kovalchuk can't come back before 2018-19 so the rumors that the two sides were working toward getting something done aren't true. He registered 16 goals and 40 points in 45 games with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL last season.
Fri, Aug 15, 2014 10:34:00 AM

Depth Charts

All Positions
PosRoleName
C1Travis Zajac
2Adam Henrique
3Pavel Zacha
4Jacob Josefson
5Stefan Noesen
LW1Taylor Hall
2Mike Cammalleri
RW1Kyle Palmieri
2Beau Bennett
3Devante Smith-Pelly
D1Andy Greene
2Damon Severson
3John Moore
4Ben Lovejoy
5Dalton Prout
6Karl Stollery
7Michael Kapla
G1Cory Schneider
2Keith Kinkaid