Ilya Kovalchuk’s name resurfaces periodically whenever there is talk about the Devils’ need to add a goal-scorer, but general manager Lou Lamoriello and owner Josh Harris confirmed the Russian winger has not entered the NHL club’s thoughts since he left last summer to play in the KHL.
There is a good reason for that. All along there has been no chance of Kovalchuk’s return.
“No,” said Harris, who purchased the Devils along with David Blitzer just over a month after Kovalchuk “retired” from the NHL to go home to Russia.
Lamoriello stressed why Kovalchuk would be unable to come back before 2018-19.
“I’ll answer that the best way you can. He cannot come back until he is 35. He’s (31) now. You’d never look at someone coming back at 35 when he’s (31),” the GM explained.
Kovalchuk left the Devils on July 11, 2013,three years into a 15-year, $100 million contract. He had 12 years and $77 million remaining when he signed a four-year deal with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL.