Originally written on Goon's World  |  Last updated 7/11/13

UNIONDALE, NY - OCTOBER 02: Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on October 2, 2010 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Devils 2-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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 hockey league. NHL.COM --- Kovalchuk's departure frees up more than $6 million in salary-cap space for the Devils, allowing the club to be more active in free agency. But the Devils will have to pay between $250,000 and $300,000 per year in cap-benefit recapture fees for each of the next dozen years. "Right now we just have to take a step back to go forward," Lamoriello said. 'We'll just have to re-evaluate what our options are and do the best we can, but we'll be ready to play when September comes." Kovalchuk leaves the NHL after 11 seasons; he had 417 goals and 399 assists for 816 points in 816 games. After being taken by the Atlanta Thrashers with the first pick in the 2001 NHL Draft, Kovalchuk had 29 goals as a rookie in 2001-02. He scored at least 30 goals in each of the next nine seasons, including six in a row with at least 40 from 2002-03 to 2009-10. With Ilya Kovalchuk departure, the Devils free up six million dollars that that they can use to go after a forward to take Kovalchuk's place, of course forwards like that don't grown on trees. With the departure of Kovalchuk, former Fighting Sioux forward Travis Zajac is now the top paid forward with the Devils. The Devils also have about 10 million dollars to work with under the cap.
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