What was reported last week is now official.
Ilya Kovalchuk’s second stint in the NHL is over as he’s signed a two-year deal with Avangard Omsk of the KHL. The 37-year-old Kovy finished last season with the Washington Capitals after a trade deadline deal in February.
Ilya Kovalchuk is back to KHL. pic.twitter.com/jdhppr2XdR
— KHL (@khl_eng) December 26, 2020
Kovy played seven games for the Capitals scoring four points (1g, 3a) in seven regular-season games. In the bubble, the sniper did not find the same chemistry with his third-line teammates collecting only an assist in eight postseason games.
Signing Kovalchuk for the league minimum netted Marc Bergevin a 2020 third round pick from the Capitals, which he used as the primary piece to acquire Jake Allen from the Blues. Pretty good mini trade tree right there. https://t.co/0mS9jxf6RS
— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) December 26, 2020
During free agency, the Capitals opted to move on from Kovalchuk, a UFA, and will replace him with either with the newly-signed Conor Sheary or Daniel Sprong, whom they acquired in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks for Christian Djoos.
After not getting a substantial enough bite from another NHL team – even with the Montreal Canadiens whom he had much success with last season – Kovalchuk decided to return home and finish his career in Russia.
Kovalchuk played 13 years in the NHL, recording 443 goals and 876 points in 926 games. Kovalchuk reached the Stanley Cup Final with the New Jersey Devils in 2012, but ultimately never won a championship.
After arriving in DC earlier in the year, Kovy was pleased that he could check off another item from his wish list: play on the same team as longtime friend Alex Ovechkin.
I’ve wanted to play with Ovi “since we were 13-years-old,” Kovalchuk said. “We play together on national team, but never for the same team. Usually, we battle against each other. It’s always nice when you’re a little older to get a chance to play together, for sure.”
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