Skip to content

Kovalchuk will remain in KHL for 1 more season, agent confirms

Alexander Demianchuk / TASS / Getty

Ilya Kovalchuk won't be coming back to the NHL this season after all.

The former Thrasher and Devil will return to the KHL for at least one more year, agent Jay Grossman confirmed to Mike Morreale of

The decision was first reported by Larry Brooks of the New York Post.

New Jersey owns Kovalchuk's rights for one more season. Brooks added that the Devils made an effort to trade the Russian sniper, which was obviously unsuccessful.

Kovalchuk, 34, will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2018. So if he still intends to return to the NHL after that date, he'll be free to sign with any team he chooses without the hassles and potential complications of completing a sign-and-trade.

The former first overall pick is coming off a career-high 32 goals and 78 points in his most recent KHL season, leading St. Petersburg SKA to a Gagarin Cup title.

In his NHL career, he totaled 417 goals and 816 points in 816 career games before heading home to Russia following the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. This came just three years after he signed a 15-year, $100-million contract with the Devils.

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox