Ilya Kovalchuk wants to return to the NHL

According to Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman, 34 year old Russian forward Ilya Kovalchuk has expressed his intention to return to the NHL next season. Kovalchuk has played the last 4 seasons with St. Petersburg SKA in the KHL.

The last time we saw the forward was during the 2012-13 lockout-shortened NHL season where he scored 11 goals and 31 points in 37 games. At the time he was in the third year of a 15-year contract with the New Jersey Devils, who still own his rights. 

Kovalchuk signed a voluntary retirement document, every team in the League would have to approve his return or he can sign a contract with the Devils and then be traded to another organization. However, the forward could wait until he's 35, he'll then become an unrestricted free agent and could sign with a club, just like Alexander Radulov did. 

The New Jersey Devils own his rights, he could sign and play for them no problem, said Elliotte Friedman on Hockey Night in Canada’s Headlines segment. If he wants to play for somebody else, technically all the other NHL teams would have to approve it. But here's the way that this I think is going to work: if he doesn’t want to play for New Jersey or if New Jersey doesn’t want him playing for them, and neither the agent nor the team is commenting on this, I think whoever gets him is going to work out either a sign and trade with New Jersey or they’re going to trade for his rights.

 Kovalchuk has spent the last 4 seasons with the St. Petersburg SKA notching a total of 124 goals and 297 points in 299 games. Those numbers give him an average of 1.006 points per game. In his 12 year stint in the NHL, he got 417 goals, 816 points in 816 games. An average of 1 point per game.

If Kovalchuk was to return, how do you think he'd come back. Do a sign and trade deal with the New Jersey Devils or wait until next year to become an unrestricted free agent?

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