Canadiens, Ilya Kovalchuk agree to one-year, two-way deal

Sportsnet's Brian Burke tells the Hockey Central panel how he talked with Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin about the Ilya Kovalchuk signing and why the move made sense for the Habs.

The Montreal Canadiens have agreed to a one-year, two-way contract with veteran forward Ilya Kovalchuk, the team announced on Friday.

The deal is worth $700,000 in the NHL and $70,000 in the AHL.

Kovalchuk’s three-year, $18.75-million deal with the Los Angeles Kings was terminated in December just three months into his second season with the club. In 17 games with the Kings this season before ending his time there as a long-term healthy scratch, the 36-year-old forward had three goals and nine points.

The termination made him an unrestricted free agent, but because he was 35 at the time of the signing, the Kings are still stuck with his $6.25-million cap hit this year and next.

Prior to returning to the NHL in 2018, Kovalchuk spent five years with St. Petersburg SKA in the KHL, opting to return home to Russia just three years after signing a massive 15-year contract with the Devils. Had he remained in New Jersey for the duration of that deal, he would still have four full seasons left.

In Kovalchuk’s first NHL stint, split between the Atlanta Thrashers and Devils, he was considered one of the most skilled goal-scorers in the league. He scored more than 30 goals in nine consecutive seasons before departing for Russia, and hit the 50-goal mark twice. In 897 career regular season NHL games over parts of 13 seasons, Kovalchuk has 436 goals and 859 points.

January 3, 2020

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Ilya Kovalchuk
Right Wing
AGE: 38

SIGNED BY
Montreal Canadiens
LENGTH
1 yr
CONTRACT TYPE
Free Agency
SALARY CAP HIT
$700,000
TOTAL
$700,000

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