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Kovalchuk patient in finding 'right fit' in free agency

Bill Wippert / National Hockey League / Getty

Ilya Kovalchuk is in no hurry to find his next home.

The 37-year-old unrestricted free agent is entering his 14th NHL season and wants to be sure he finds the right situation before signing his next deal.

"I’m training to keep myself in shape," Kovalchuk said Monday, according to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun. "I talk to Pat (Brisson, agent) all the time, he keeps me posted. But I’m not in a rush. We will try to find the right place, the right fit, that’s good for everybody."

Kovalchuk had a rollercoaster 2019-20 campaign. The Los Angeles Kings terminated his contract in December, but then he turned his season around after being picked up by the Montreal Canadiens in January. Kovalchuk tallied 13 points in 22 games with the Habs before getting dealt to the Washington Capitals at the trade deadline.

The veteran winger appeared in one Stanley Cup Final with the New Jersey Devils in 2012 but has yet to hoist the ultimate prize. With his career winding down, Kovalchuk is aiming to join a team in contention.

"Yes, that’s exactly what we’re looking for. But it should be both parties interested. Not just one side. That’s very important, too," he said.

Kovalchuk has racked up 26 goals and 34 assists over 110 games since returning to the NHL ahead of the 2018-19 season after spending time in the KHL.

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