New Jersey Devils Ilya Kovalchuk retires from the NHL

5:15 PM

  • Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports: From Paval Lysenkov of SovSport, Kovalchuk will be signing with SKA St. Petersburg and he’ll become the highest paid hockey player in the world. Lysenkov speculates that he wouldn’t be surprised if it was “a $ 15-20 million per year (at the taxation in 13%).” Dmitry Chesnokov thinks it could be heavily front loaded.

5:10 PM

  • Dmitry Chesnokov: SKA will announce Kovalchuk’s signing tomorrow, per @plysenkov, wanted to do it today.

4:20 PM

  • New Jersey Devils: 30-year old Ilya Kovalchuk retires from the NHL.A statement from Devils GM and President Lou Lamoriello:

    “After many conversations with Ilya over the past year on his desire to retire from the National Hockey League, Ilya’s decision became official today. On behalf of the entire organization, I wish Ilya and his family all the best in their future endeavors.”

    A statement from Ilya Kovalchuk:

    “This decision was something I have thought about for a long time going back to the lockout and spending the year in Russia. Though I decided to return this past season, Lou was aware of my desire to go back home and have my family there with me. The most difficult thing for me is to leave the New Jersey Devils, a great organization that I have a lot of respect for, and our fans that have been great to me.”

  • Dmitry Chesnokov: “Source close to Kovalchuk said he saw it coming. Most likely Kovalchuk will play for SKA. I am told major announcement will come very soon.”
  • Alexander Zaytsev: “Sport-Express is reporting that Kovalchuk will play for SKA in the KHL.”

Kovalchuk had 12 years left on his contract and $77 million. Cap recapture penalty for the Devils is $250,000 through 2024-25. James Mirtle: Had he retired next year, cap recapture penalty would have been $700,000 for the next 11 years.

What are your thoughts on this shocking news?

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  1. #1 by Jerry at July 11th, 2013

    Wow. First the team screws themselves by trying to front load the contract, loses draft picks, reworks it and can’t afford to resign UFAs, and now he’s going to play in Russia. He should get an honorary contract with the NY Jets, this seems right up their alley.

  2. #2 by PatHoffman at July 11th, 2013

    I’m ok with it. Doesn’t effect me at all but it does show the NHL that they aren’t the only big league anymore. If there is another seemingly pointless lock out how many more players will “retire” to void their contracts to play somewhere else?

  3. #3 by Shane at July 11th, 2013

    Silly post Pat. Kovy made a ton of money here and now wants to be with his family in Russia. Period.

  4. #4 by hotwings at July 11th, 2013

    ill play “Devil’s” advocate on this one… perhaps Kovi’s Russia exodus has more to do with Jersey’s money problems as of late… This move definitely helps out the balance sheet. Maybe there is a backdoor understanding between Lou, Kovi and ownership, that he will leave the NHL for a few years, make money in the KHL, then come back a Devil.

    This move definitely helps the Devils increase their odds for the McDavid sweepstakes in 2015 as well as the first pick next year..

  5. #5 by Chuck at July 11th, 2013

    The funny thing is that they must forfeit their 1st rounder this year because of Kovalchuck contract, when they could have forfeit the 29th pick two years ago… Lamoriello is such a clown.

  6. #6 by Rolf Kammerer at July 11th, 2013

    Something just doesn’t seem right about this move.

  7. #7 by Tomski at July 11th, 2013

    I think the NHL needs to do something to prevent this from happening in the future, just as they did when Kovie originally signed his monstrous contract. By “retiring” the player saves the team buyout money (beneficial for NJ in this case), and then gets to sign in the KHL even though the 2 leagues have an agreement in place to honour each other’s contracts? #circumvention ..

  8. #8 by Tomski at July 11th, 2013

    I get the contract is null and void since he retired, but what is to stop other players from not honoring their contracts by fake-retiring and just jumping ship?

  9. #9 by Randy Heath at July 11th, 2013

    I guess that must be the Devils plan to let Kovalchuk retire so they can save money because they are “broke” but in the process they guarantee that the team will finish dead last next year and then have to forfeit the first overall pick. Makes a lot of sense. Kovalchuk signing was doomed from the start. The rumors were there that he would rather play in Russia and the Devils front loaded the contract, alienated Parise and the end result is that they destroyed team chemistry and Kovalchuk abandoned the team after making as much money as he could carry back to Russia.

  10. #10 by Pesus at July 11th, 2013

    How is there a team in Jersey anyway? They can’t pay, nobody goes to the games. Send the team to Canada were they will be appreciated.

  11. #11 by tiedummy at July 12th, 2013

    agree with Pat ..why would jersey want him to leave and spend 10 million on clowe and elias The writing was on the wall last year when he played at home during the walkout and did not want to return to nhl but was forced to,,walkout cost him big bucks which he can now recoup and be with his family a choice we would all make.. after 10 years if nhl crap really what choice would you make ..more money,,more recognition,,better working conditions..your language and customs ,,where your family wants to be..its not Iraq he is going to

  12. #12 by tiedummy at July 12th, 2013

    Peaus they seem to have more cupS then Canadian teams ,,leafs..IN LAST 20 YEARS

  13. #13 by tiedummy at July 12th, 2013

    yea Randy this is all part of the conspiracy..grow up

  14. #14 by tiedummy at July 12th, 2013

    Tomski the same thing that stops you from getting a better job…called freedom of choice

  15. #15 by tiedummy at July 12th, 2013


  16. #16 by Randy Heath at July 12th, 2013

    Hey, tiedummy. I guess you are the only one that doesn’t understand sarcasm. My point exactly was that there is no way New Jersey planned this. It cost them way too much when there was talk about Kovalchuk wanting to go back to Russia to play when he was still an Atlanta Thrasher. How do you think the Devils acquired him for so little?

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