Report: New York Rangers to Sign Ilya Kovalchuk

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Ilya Kovalchuk

The deal cannot be completed until he officially becomes an unrestricted free agent, but Igor Eronko of Sport Express and NHL.com/ru; as well as Alex Nunn of Blueshirt Banter, are reporting that winger Ilya Kovalchuk has agreed to terms with the New York Rangers. The deal will be either two or three years in length, and be worth approximately $6 million per season.

Report: Ilya Kovalchuk to Sign with the New York Rangers

Kovalchuk, who will turn 35 later this week, last played in the NHL in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. He scored 11 goals and 31 points in 39 games for the New Jersey Devils that year. During the summer of 2013, he retired and returned to Russia to play in the KHL. With that retirement, his NHL contract was terminated. Prior to this summer, he could only return to the league if re-signing with the Devils. After his thirty-fifth birthday though, he can be an unrestricted free agent.

Kovalchuk scored 31 goals and 63 points in 53 games with SKA St. Petersburg this past season. He currently has 10 points in 15 playoff games with the club. SKA is seeking their third Gagarin Cup since Kovalchuk joined the squad in the 2013-14 season. Kovalchuk scored the Cup-clinching goal in both the 2015 and 2017 cup wins.

Kovalchuk also helped Russia to the 2018 Olympic Gold medal in Pyeongchang. He was a tournament all-star, an alternate captain of the national team, and was also named the tournament MVP. Kovalchuk scored five goals and seven points in six tournament games.

This addition is added firepower for the Rangers. Despite his age, Kovalchuk should still be one of the premier snipers in the National Hockey League. The Rangers had a tough season in 2017-18, but look to re-tool their roster quickly after stripping it down at the trade deadline.

 

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