After KHL Stint, Ilya Kovalchuk plans NHL return but not With New Jersey Devils

By Teddy Cecilio, Posted: 05/02/17 12:47PM EDT

After seeing action in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in Russia for four seasons, forward Ilya Kovalchuck wants to resume his NHL career. However, Kovalchuk doesn't want to return to the New Jersey Devils, who owns his NHL rights.

According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, the 34-year-old Kovalchuk wants a sign-and-trade deal that will move him out of New Jersey. Russian reporter Slava Malamud said that Kovalchuk would prefer to stay in New York City or move to Florida.

Malamud reported that Kovalchuk's wife and four children will play a major factor in his next destination. However, the Devils are not on his wish list. He left the Devils after the 2012-13 season with 12 years and $77 million remaining in his contract.

During the shortened 2012-13 season, Kovalchuk tallied 11 goals and 20 assists for the Devils before he moved to St. Petersburg SKA in the KHL. The year before, Kovalchuk garnered 37 goals and 46 assists.

Kovalchuk tallied 32 goals and 46 assists for 78 in 60 games for St. Petersburg SKA last season. According to Brooks, several NHL teams that need offensive firepower have already expressed interest in Kovalchuck.

However, the Devils own Kovalchuk's rights so a sign and trade is necessary to complete the move. Kovalchuk can sign with any team without the permission of the Devils, but he needs approval of all NHL teams.

David Rogers of The Comeback reported that the Devils plan to reach out to Kovalchuk's agent to confirm his comeback plans. "I plan to reach out next week maybe to his agent. I'll reach out next week and see if there's any substance to the speculation of Ilya coming back," said Devils GM Ray Shero.

The Devils have missed the Stanley Cup playoffs for the fifth straight season. However, they scored big after winning the NHL Draft Lottery despite having just 8.5 percent odds of winning, according to Fox Sports. The NHL Draft will be held in Chicago on June 23 and 24.

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