Thursday, July 11, 2013

Kovalchuk Has Retired From NHL

Illya Kovalchuk has retired from the NHL.  The 30 year-old forward informed Lou Lamoriello, General Manager of the New Jersey Devils, of his wishes to return to Russia, and has signed the retirement paperwork.

According to the New York Times, Kovalchuk has scored more goals in his eleven NHL seasons, than any other player during that time period.  The former New Jersey Devil made a statement announcing his retirement, as reported by the New York Times:
“This decision was something I have thought about for a long time going back to the lockout and spending the year in Russia,” Kovalchuk said. “Though I decided to return this past season, Lou was aware of my desire to go back home and have my family there with me. The most difficult thing for me is to leave the New Jersey Devils, a great organization that I have a lot of respect for, and our fans that have been great to me.”
 Kovalchuk leaves $77 million in contract money behind by leaving the Devils and the NHL.  It's fully expected that he will make most, if not all, of that money up by joining the KHL and most likely SKA St. Petersburg, the team he played for during the lockout.  

In 816 regular season NHL games, Kovalchuk had scored exactly 816 points (417 goals, 399 assists).  He currently sits eighteenth on the all-time NHL goals-per-game leader list, with 0.511, just ahead of Sidney Crosby, but behind Pat LaFontaine.  

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