On This Day in 2010: Devils and Kovalchuk Agree to Monster Deal

On this day in 2010, the New Jersey Devils and forward Ilya Kovalchuk agreed to a 17-year, $102 million deal. 

The NHL rejected the deal, forcing the Devils to restructure the contract into a 15-year, $100 million deal, worth $6.66 million annually. 

Kovalchuk played two and a half seasons on the deal before deciding he wanted to return to Russia to continue his hockey career.

As a result, the contract was terminated by the Devils in 2013, just three years after the deal was made. 

Kovalchuk spent the next five seasons with St. Petersburg SKA of the KHL, before returning to North America. 

In 2018, Kovalchuk signed a three-year, $18,750,000 million deal with the Los Angeles Kings, worth $6,250,000 million annually. He played 81 games for the Kings, scoring 19 goals and 24 assists for 43 total points.

Things did not work out between the Kings and Kovalchuk, leading to the team terminating his contract and Kovalchuk, then thirty-seven years old, signing a league minimum deal with the Montreal Canadiens. 

He played 22 games for the Canadiens, scoring six goals and seven assists, before being traded to the Washington Capitals for a third-round pick.

Kovalchuk played seven games for the Capitals, scoring one goal and three assists.

After the 2019-20 season, it seemed that the thirty-eight year old finally gave up on his NHL career, as he returned to Russia and played the 2020-21 season for Omsk Avangard of the KHL.

Ilya Kovalchuk has had a bizzare, but succesful NHL career, playing 926 games, scoring 443 goals and 433 assists for 876 career points. 

Sadly, Kovalchuk never won the Stanley Cup he so desperately chased. 

Photo Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports