The New York Post reported Tuesday that the 35-year-old winger will stick with the KHL for a sixth season. That would allow him to sign with the NHL team of his choosing next summer rather than relying on the Devils — who still hold his rights — working out a trade to send him somewhere this offseason.
In end, it was Kovalchuk's decision to return after Shero made attempts to make trades. Just did not work out.— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie)July 4, 2017
The first overall pick in the 2001 NHL draft by the Atlanta Thrashers, Kovalchuk has stayed on the North American hockey radar even though he hasn't played in the NHL since 2013. The Blue Jackets were reportedly his prime suitor this summer, with the Canadiens and Golden Knights also possibilities.
Kovalchuk had 417 goals and 399 assists in 816 games over 11 seasons with the Thrashers and Devils. He has improved on that point-per-game pace with SKA St. Petersburg, tallying 107 goals and 157 assists in 245 KHL games.
Source : http://www.sportingnews.com/nhl/news/nhl-trade-rumors-ilya-kovalchuk-devils-blue-jackets-canadiens-golden-knights/1cqkzfqfwdjcg16cqwyea8dkf0