Found July 12, 2013 on
The Detroit Sports Site:
Ilya Kovalchuk stunned the New Jersey Devils and the NHL on Thursday, abruptly announcing his retirement from the league so he could continue his career in the KHL.
Not only will Kovalchuk’s decision cost the Devils an annual cap penalty for the next decade and their first-round pick in 2014′s draft, but it leaves them without their best offensive weapon. Kovalchuk scored 30 goals nine times in his NFL career, and he topped the 50-goal mark twice.
There are no comparable replacements available for New Jersey to chase now, but ex-Detroit Red Wings forward Damien Brunner might serve as part of their Plan B.
Wings GM Ken Holland said last week that he expects Brunner to “move on” after Brunner rejected Detroit’s contract offers for a shot at free agency. The 27-year-old Brunner scored 12 goals (one more than Kovalchuk) during the lockout-shortened season; he finished with 26 points.
CBS’ Adam Gretz pitched Brunner as a fallback option for the Devils, along with Jaromir Jagr and Mikhail Grabovski. Pucks and Pitchforks did the same, tossing out Brunner’s name with Jagr, Grabovski and Brendan Morrow, but cautioning, “None of these players come close to Kovalchuk’s performance, but would seriously help the Devils next season.”
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where Brunner’s new contract will land, mostly since Brunner has all of 44 regular-season NHL games under his belt. He made $1.35 million during the 2013 season, so an average of at least $2 million per year seems realistic.
The Devils have more than enough money to swing that, with upwards of $10 million available now that Kovalchuk has departed. They also have the need for a goal-scoring winger who can play on the power play. Brunner fits that bill, and he could get a call from New Jersey GM Lou Lamoriello soon — if he hasn’t already.
BEST OF MAXIM
Just three years after signing a massive 15-year, $100 million deal with the Devils, Ilya Kovalchuk has shocked the NHL world by deciding to hang up his skates.
Almost nine years ago when the NHL was shut down for a season-ending lockout, I traveled nearly 6,000 miles to the Republic of Tatarstan to catch up to and write about Ilya Kovalchuk, once the star for the Atlanta Thrashers (now Winnepeg Jets).
A number of things stick out from that trip: The minus-16-degree Celsius temperatures in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan where Kovalchuk...
Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America
Ilya Kovalchuk is retiring from the NHL leaving behind 12 years and $77 million, The 30-year-old informed the New Jersey Devils that he plans to return to Russia.
“This decision was something I have thought about for a long time going back to the lockout and spending the year in Russia,” Kovalchuk said in a statement released by...
BREAKING: Ilya Kovalchuk has announced his retirement. #NJDevils #NHL
— NHLDevilsPR (@NHLDevilsPR) July 11, 2013
Ilya Kovalchuk has announced his retirement. This is not a fake.
— Tom Gulitti (@TGfireandice) July 11, 2013
No, Ilya Kovalchuk did not permanently retire from hockey, he just retired from the NHL. I realize that. For Thrashers fans, though, the news today was rough. How rough? Well, first off, in a city that doesn't care about hockey and yet at the same time needs to "get over losing that team," well, look at what's trending:
Again, of course, no one...
Ilya Kovalchuk's NHL career came to a screeching halt on Thursday, suddenly leaving the New Jersey Devils without one of their best players.
Kovalchuk abruptly announced his retirement from the Devils, forgoing the final 12 years of his contract and leaving $77 million on the table to return to his native Russia, where he is expected to play in the KHL.
While some were not...
New insider? "@AngelinaLawton: Guess I was 7 months early on this secret :) #kovalchuk @NHL @NHLDevils pic.twitter.com/tWeIpErkZc”
— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) July 11, 2013
As announced today, the Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk retired from the NHL leaving the New Jersey Devils holding the bag. I am thankful that I don't have Ilya Kovalchuk in a keeper fantasy...
Just 2-years after signing a somewhat controversial 15-year, $100 million contract with the New Jersey Devils, star forward Ilya Kovalchuk has decided to walk away from hockey.
Or at least the NHL.
Kovlachuk, who came to the Devils after beginning his NHL career 11-years ago with the now defunct Atlanta Thrashers is...or was considered one of hockey's elite snipers...
Very little has been made of Ilya Kovalchuk's start in the NHL. Amongst the hubbub of him bolting for Russia, everyone seems to be mentioning the Devils and his point production with them and yada yada yada. You may, if you're lucky, get a mention of him being drafted by the Thrashers in 2001.
This tweet is a perfect example of what I'm talking about:
Ilya Kovalchuk announced his retirement from the NHL yesterday, as he’s decided to return home to Russia to play in the KHL. This news came as a shock to just about everyone in the hockey world, but no one was more rattled than former NHLer and current NBC Sportscaster, Jeremy Roenick. Roenick took to twitter to blow off some steam and let everyone know just how he feels about...
New Jersey Devils superstar winger Ilya Kovalchuk has decided to walk away from the final 12 years and $77 million remaining on his contract, choosing to retire from the NHL to play for SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL next season. “This decision was something I have thought about for a
While I was sleeping in after penning last night's post-scrimmage entry, MLive's Brendan Savage penned updates regarding Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist and the exit of Damien Brunner, and the Red Wings' prospects, who will be taking part in morning practice sessions only on Sunday, spent their only "off-day" playing paintball and touring Camp Grayling: Continue...