When news broke earlier this spring of a potential NHL return for former New Jersey Devils superstar Ilya Kovalchuk, fans were clamouring for their team’s GMs to make a move for the 34 year-old Russian sniper. In the end, the process of extraction proved to be too difficult and costly and, as a result, Kovalchuk will remain in Russian for at least one more season before attempting an NHL return at 35. While some fans and analysts have pointed the finger at Devils GM Ray Shero for his inability to make a “sign and trade” deal with Kovalchuk, Shero insists that he was never involved and that Kovalchuk’s camp was in control the entire time.
“Nothing happens with him. (Nothing) happened, at least to bring to me for me to consider anything. So again whatever happened in that process, I don’t know. It wasn’t my business, it was theirs. I was ready for point B but never got there,” said Shero to NorthJersey.com staff writer Andrew Gross. This corroborates Shero’s previous reports in which he said that Kovalchuk himself was “driving the bus” with regards to his NHL future.
But, is a return to New Jersey for 2018-19 out of the question? It appears so. “He’s a really good player, and if he had been back this year it would have been fantastic and if it’s going to be next year for himself, that’s great,” said Shero, following up with, “It won’t be in New Jersey.”
Ouch. Message delivered.