Report: Ilya Kovalchuk joining KHL expansion team in China


Russia’s Ilya Kovalchuk celebrates after scoring at the Channel One Cup. (Ivan Sekretarev/AP)

Former NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk appears to be on the move.

The ex-New Jersey Devil is reportedly leaving SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) for the league’s expansion team in China.

Kovalchuk fell out of favour in St. Petersburg and was stripped of his captaincy. It was even announced that he would sit out the remainder of the KHL playoffs, although Kovalchuk returned for Game 1 of his team’s second round matchup.

In four post-season games, the 32 year old was held scoreless and was a minus-three.

Kovalchuk had 16 goals and 33 assists in 50 regular season games for SKA, good for sixth in KHL scoring.

Kovalchuk was removed from the team one game into the post-season due to poor performance. He is under contract with St. Petersburg until at least April 30, according to multiple reports.

— With files from Sportsnet’s Luke Fox

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