It’s time for another round of Ilya Kovalchuk rumors. For those of you trying your best to block out all of the speculation and reports, here’s what you’ve missed.
In April, we discussed how the New Jersey Devils were interested in reaching a deal to bring Kovalchuk back to the NHL. In May, reports suggested Kovalchuk was interested in returning either to New York or Florida.
So, where does that leave us? With a somewhat unexpected new rumor that the Columbus Blue Jackets have talked to Kovalchuk’s agent, of course.
John Davidson tells PTS that CBJ have talked to Kovalchuk's agent…still preliminary, but certainly interested.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) June 27, 2017
It’s worth pointing out again that the Devils still own Kovalchuk’s rights until the beginning of the 2018-19 season. If he wanted to sign a new deal with a different team, all of the other teams in the league would have to give their approval – something which will never happen. In order for Kovalchuk to play for any team other than the Devils, he’d have to first sign with them before getting shipped out in a trade.
Kovalchuk has now been connected to several teams and it’s pretty likely more than the ones we’ve discussed are interested. He’ll command a pricey contract, but there’s always a market for a player who has proven throughout his career that he can put the puck in the back of the net. Last season, he tallied 78 points in 68 games with SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL. It’s highly doubtful those kinds of numbers would follow Kovalchuk back to the NHL, but there are bound to be plenty of teams willing to find out.