Skip to main content

Ilya Kovalchuk wants back in the NHL – should the Wild pursue?

Kovalchuk has been playing in the KHL for the past four years.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

Ilya Kovalchuk, retired from the NHL in 2013 and has been playing in the KHL (Russian league) ever since. But now it appears he's interested in returning to North America.

Kovalchuk was just three years into a 15-year, $100 million contract with the Devils when he left for the KHL but that contract was voided when he left, however the Devils still own his rights until he turns 35 years old.

New Jersey stated, they are willing to work with him to find a new team. Bob McKenzie of TSN Sports notes the Devils won't just dump for nothing, they'll only make a move that "makes sense for New Jersey."

If Kovalchuk wants to return to the NHL this season, it would be through a sign-and-trade.

Should the Wild be interested?

Currently the Wild have $12 million in cap space but some of that money will likely be used to sign restricted free agents Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter plus other needs.

But after five years with the same core and only two playoff series wins to show for it, would Minnesota be willing to trade one of their younger forwards plus other prospects for the rights to obtain the 34-year-old veteran?

In 12 NHL seasons, Kovalchuk scored 30-plus goals in nine of his 12 seasons and he proved his still has his touch, scoring 32 goals last season in the KHL.

Although Minnesota had plenty of depth last year, no one hit the 30-goal mark and they need a true goal scorer, which is exactly what Kovalchuk brings despite his age.

There's a lot of moving and shaking to endure, but it appears the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes are definitely on and the State of Hockey should take notice.

Next Up


80 mph winds, large hail possible with severe storms in MN

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for much of the state until 3 a.m. Saturday.


30 people evacuated as flooding hammers small town

It's assumed that at least eight inches of rain fell in Randall, with more heavy rain expected Friday night into Saturday morning.

Intersection in Rochester.

Boy dies in motorcycle crash in Rochester

Police are investigating as of Friday afternoon.

Tab2FileL (13)

Numerous severe storms likely in Minnesota Friday night

Watch the video for the full details with meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.

court room

Teen pleads guilty in shooting death of 15-year-old girl in Columbia Heights

Damico Jamal-Tokyo High will receive a sentence in juvenile court, along with an adult prison sentence.

Screen Shot 2022-04-25 at 11.00.01 AM

Walz wants to use surplus money to send direct payments to Minnesotans

It's a renewed effort from a previous proposal from Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan's supplemental budget in January.

Ron Johnson

Jan. 6 committee says aide for WI senator tried to give fake elector info to Pence

The attempt was discovered through text messages in the ongoing public hearing held by the Jan. 6 select committee.

Stock U of M sign

Minnesota state colleges boosting tuition again by 3.5%

The Minnesota State system's Board of Trustee's approved the increase Wednesday.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, June 24

The next daily update will be provided Monday, June 27.

Pro choice rally

Walz, Jensen react to historic Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade

After voting to overturn Roe, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas has hinted contraception and same-sex marriage protections should follow.

16362 County Rd 81, Maple Grove, Minnesota - October 2021 (4)

2-year-old killed in crash on County Road 81 in Maple Grove

The crash occurred Thursday evening on County Road 81.

police tape

BCA issues new details about St. Michael standoff, shooting

New details say a St. Cloud police officer struck the suspect with gunfire.


Tuch will make NHL debut on the Wild's top line

Tuch will skate with Eric Staal and Zach Parise tonight in Vancouver.

Wild assistant coach Scott Stevens cracks NHL's top 100 list

You always had to keep your head up when Scott Stevens was on the ice.

Everything you need to know about the Wild and the NHL Expansion Draft

Here's who the Wild could protect from Las Vegas in the expansion draft – and who they might lose.

ESPN says Spurgeon's goal was the top play in the NHL this season

Spurgeon's goal is the top play in the NHL season so far.

3 reasons why the Wild are off to a hot start

A look at just how good this Wild team has been.

Report: Free agent forward interested in playing for the Wild

Stafford played for the Boston Bruins and Winnipeg Jets a season ago.