One of the hottest rumors of the summer is the potential return of Russian superstar Ilya Kovalchuk, and on Thursday we got an update on those rumors from an extremely reputable source.
NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale had a chance to catch up with New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero who admitted that he spoke to Kovalchuk's agent Jay Grossman earlier this week, and it sounds like he is in fact coming to the NHL.
"If tomorrow he decides to stay in Russia, OK, but who knows?" Shero said. "That's his call in the end. Right now nothing, according to [Grossman], has changed and he would like to pursue [NHL] opportunities."
While this is a great opportunity for the Devils to get a piece or pieces in return for what was effectively a "retired" player for them, Shero also admitted that Kovalchuk largely controls his own destiny here.
"I can't go out calling teams because that's a waste of my time," Shero said. "He's going to tell [us] where he wants to play, and in the end, if that does work out and it's not the Devils, then I've got to see if that makes sense for us to do that."
Even if the Devils did have some kind of sign and trade in place for Kovalchuk, they can't execute it before July 1st due to the fact that Kovalchuk is not eligible to sign a contract prior to that date. That being said, you should be paying close attention to that date as a Kovalchuk deal could come on that day or very near it.