Where to next, Ilya?
On Friday morning, it was announced that the Omsk Avangard of the Kontinental Hockey League and veteran forward Ilya Kovalchuk have mutually agreed to terminate his contract.
This has prompted several rumours that the 38-year-old forward might be looking for another comeback in the National Hockey League.
This past fall, Kovy was hoping to get picked up by an NHL team to continue his career in America, but the flattened salary cap made things harder for the veteran player.
In December 2019, his deal with the Los Angeles Kings was terminated and the veteran forward found the perfect fit with the Montreal Canadiens on a league minimum, $700,000 contract. We however didn’t get to see much after he was traded to the Washington Capitals at the 2020 trade deadline. He put up four points in seven games before COVID shut down the season and struggled - as the rest of the Caps did - in the qualifying round of the NHL’s Return to Play plan. It was then reported that the Habs were once again interest in Kovalchuk and might have talked about an offer with him - but it did not get done.
He therefore headed to the KHL and mentioned more than once that he’d do so if he couldn’t find the right fit in the NHL.
With the draft expansion coming up and the Seattle Kraken coming to the league, some pundits are wondering if Kovalchuk will attempt to convince the 32nd NHL team.
What’s next for Kovalchuk?