Well, this is interesting. According to Justin Cuthbert over at The Score, reports have surfaced out of Finland that former Devil and Atlanta Thrasher Ilya Kovalchuk may want to return to the National Hockey League. Rather, it may be more like crawling back after he unceremoniously jumped ship for the KHL following the 2013 lockout shortened season.
If the reports from Finland’s Iltalehti.fi are even remotely true, Kovalchuk would be 33 upon his return to the NHL. He announced his “retirement” on July 11, 2013 to sign with St. Petersburg of the KHL. Additionally in accordance to Cuthbert’s piece, Kovalchuk needs approval from all 30 NHL clubs to play in the league again since he did in fact sign retirement papers…
Having signed retirement papers, all 30 teams will have to approve his return, which may be a decision organizations would be reluctant to make. The Devils, who some believe coaxed Kovalchuk to leave the NHL, were able to duck monumental salary commitments through 2025 as a result of his pseudo retirement.
To that, despite how talented he is, will the NHL really be eager to take back a player who spurned the league in his prime?(via The Score)
Could you imagine if the Thrashers had kept Kovalchuk and took him to Winnipeg? I’m sure he would have loved that. Reports are still preliminary, but this story will hold the intrigue of the entire league in the foreseeable future as it unfolds. That is, IF it unfolds any further.