Rangers have 'checked in' with free-agent Kovalchuk


The New York Rangers have gauged Ilya Kovalchuk's interest in bringing his show to Broadway.

The Russian superstar, now an unrestricted free agent, has expressed interest in returning to the NHL after spending the past five seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League, and could find a fit with the Rangers.

"We've checked in with him. It's fair to say that's something we're going to look at again further and see what's going on," Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton told Larry Brooks of the New York Post.

Kovalchuk last suited up in the NHL for the New Jersey Devils, but retired following the 2012-13 campaign in order to return to Russia. He had 12 years remaining on his contract at the time of his retirement.

Had Kovalchuk opted to return to the NHL prior to the coming season, the Devils would have retained his rights. However, now that his 35th birthday has passed, he is removed from the NHL's voluntary retired list and free to sign with any team.

As of April 15, Kovalchuk can hold talks with interested teams, but cannot put pen to paper until free agency opens on July 1.

In 55 appearances with St. Petersburg SKA this season, Kovalchuk tallied 32 goals and 33 assists. The former Devil and Atlanta Thrasher also notched 816 points in as many NHL games.

Rangers have 'checked in' with free-agent Kovalchuk
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