Ilya Kovalchuk Return to NHL


Ilya Kovalchuk surprised hockey fans everywhere when he left the New Jersey Devils halfway through the 2012-13 NHL season. Why did he break his contract, which paid him an annual cap hit of  $6.67 million?

He left for the promise of greener pastures in his homeland Russia. A KHL team, SKA Saint Petersburg, offered him $20 million per season. Also, he missed his family and homeland in Russia. With the decline of the Russian ruble and the KHL this season, Kovalchuk, who is 31 years old, is planning a return to the NHL. In an interview in 2013, his sister, Arina said, "Naturally, he plans to return to America and perform in the NHL. But the next three years he will play in Russia." This interview suggests a return for the 2016-17 season.

The New Jersey Devils own Kovalchuk's rights until the left winger is 35, and the Devils will want assets for his rights if they are not signing him. As well, one of the following conditions must be met:
a. All 30 GMs vote to allow his reinstatement
b. Takes one year off from pro hockey
c. With 2/3 of the vote, the NHL Board of Governors change the rules pertaining to A or B

It's most likely Ilya  Kovalchuk returns to the NHL as an unrestricted free agent for the 2018-19 season when he turns 35.

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