Ilya Kovalchuk is back in the NHL after retiring from the league in 2013. The Russian forward signed a three-year contract with the Los Angeles Kings that will pay Kovalchuk $6.25 million annually, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
$6.25M AAV for Kovalchuk
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 23, 2018
“We are excited to add Ilya to the LA Kings organization,” Kings GM Rob Blake said in a release. “He gives us an added element of skill and scoring along with a desire to win. We will withhold further comment until July 1.”
In his prime, Kovalchuk was one of the deadliest snipers in the league. Kovlachuk scored 50 goals twice and 40 goals three other years. The winger has continued to be a top talent overseas. Kovalchuk was the KHL’s leading scorer last season, tallying 63 points in 53 games for SKA St. Petersburg last season. That included 31 goals.
Kovalchuk was also named the 2018 Olympic MVP as a member of the Olympic Athletes from Russia team.
The forward is also good friends with Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin.
More from the Kings:
The LA Kings and forward Ilya Kovalchuk have agreed to terms on a three-year contract, Kings Vice President and General Manager Rob Blake announced today.
The 35-year-old Kovalchuk (born April 15, 1983) is a 6-3, 230-pound native of Tver, Russia who appeared in 53 regular-season games this past season with SKA St. Petersburg (KHL), recording 63 points (31-32=63), 26 penalty minutes and a plus-12 rating.
He led the KHL in points, ranked second in goals, fifth in assists and tied for third in game-winning goals (6). He helped lead SKA to the Western Conference Final before falling to CSKA. He tallied 10 points in 15 postseason games (6-4=10), 12 penalty minutes and a plus-5 rating.
Kovalchuk last appeared in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils during the 2012-13 season.
A first overall selection of the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Kovalchuk was a point-per-game player, appearing in 816 regular-season games with the Thrashers and Devils, posting 816 points (417-399=816) and 516 penalty minutes. From 2001 to 2013, no active player scored more goals than Kovalchuk’s 417. He has had two 50-plus goal seasons, and cleared the 40-goal plateau six consecutive years (2003-04 to 2009-10). His 0.51 goals-per-game percentage ranks 18th all-time in league history.
During his 11 NHL seasons, he tied for the Maurice Richard Trophy once (2003-04), was selected to three All-Star games (2003-04, 2007-08 and 2008-09), was selected as a First Team All-Star in 2011-12 and a Second Team All-Star in 2003-04.
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