Three very surprising teams emerge as favorites for Kovalchuk.

3 spots where Kovalchuk could land.

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The rumors that Ilya Kovalchuk is planning a return to the National Hockey League have by now reached the eyes and ears of most hardcore hockey fans, however until now we had very little idea about where he would land.

According to a recent report from Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports, three teams have emerged as the favorites to acquire the Kontinental Hocmey League superstar, and they may not be names you expected to see. 

At the top of Benjamin's list are the San Jose Sharks, and while he admits many believe the Sharks should be looking for younger talent, the likely offensive burst you would receive from a talent like Kovalchuk could pay huge dividends to a team that is expected not to re-sign veteran Patrick Marleau.

Next up on the list is a very surprising name indeed, the Columbus Blue Jackets. Benjamin believes the Jackets have enough young depth on their defense to make a trade desirable for the Devils, while adding Kovalchuk's offense to the Jackets would push a team that surprised many by contending last season to new heights.

Last but not least on the list are the St. Louis Blues. The move to St. Louis would reunite Kovalchuk with another Russian superstar in Vladimir Tarasenko, and there's also a connection there between Kovalchuk and former New Jersey Devils goaltender, and current Blues assistant general manager Martin Bordeur.

Where do you think he will end up?