As of noon ET, Ilya Kovalchuk can officially sign a contract with the New Jersey Devils. What happens after that remains to be seen.
Kovalchuk might be signing with the Devils (because he has to), but he’s expected to wind up elsewhere via a sign-and-trade.
It’ll be interesting to see where he ends up because there have also been rumblings about him going back to the KHL next season.
But according to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, three of the teams he’d consider going to are the Rangers, Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs.
It’s easy to see why the Leafs wouldn’t be interested. They have a lot of young firepower up front with Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander all on entry-level deals. Those guys will have to get paid at some point, which means committing big money to Kovalchuk probably isn’t wise.
The Russian sniper had an incredible year with SKA Saint Petersburg in the KHL, as he scored 32 goals and 78 points in 60 games.