Ilya Kovalchuk Hits: Likely to sign in KHL on Monday, Deal in place since January? Long term gain for Devils


  • Alexander Zaytsev: Ilya Kovalchuk’s signing with SKA will most likely be announced on Monday according to SovSport. Kovalchuk will making around $10 million a year according to Sport-Express.
  • Igor Eronko: Sport-Express is reporting that Kovalchuk and SKA agreed to a deal back in January, just before he returned to the NHL.
  • Bob McKenzie: McKenzie’s thoughts on Kovalchuk: “1. Mutual (player and club agree) termination of an NHL contract not that unusual but usually involves lower-profile players. 2. If NJ had so chosen, it could’ve blocked Kovalchuk from the KHL by tolling contract. But NJ isn’t doing that, he’s free to go to KHL. 3. Kovalchuk doesn’t get paid anything (by NJ) and Devils don’t get cap hit other than a modest $250K/year penalty for each of next 12 years. 4. NJ will miss Kovallchuk on ice in the short term but long-term gain is getting out from under long-term financial obligation. 5. Kovalchuk is, at face value, leaving $77M on the table but he’ll get that, and then some if he chooses, in the KHL. 6. When all is said and done, as big a short-term hole as Kovalchuk’s departure leaves in NJ, it’s a divorce of convenience for both sides.”
  • Nick Cotsonika: “Things to remember about KHL: training camps are much longer, travel is much more arduous, disparity between rich and poor much greater. Again, more players might stay, and more might go home. But there is a reason guys like Malkin and Datsyuk have re-signed in NHL.”
  • Tom Gulitti: In the short term, Kovalchuk’s retirement puts the Devils in a bind, but in the long term, they get out of a big contract which is positive.
  • Tom Gulitti of the Bergon Record: When did you find out about Kovalchuk’s decision and did you try to talk him out of it?

    “This goes back to the lockout and prior to coming back his thought process of staying in Russia was there. He was here a little late (after the lockout). Then, there was no conversation whatsoever throughout the year about it. Then, it recently resurfaced and his desire was to retire from the National Hockey League and the only way he could do that was to sign his voluntary retirement papers.”

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