Breaking News Bar
updated: 1/13/2014 8:20 PM

Former NHL star has no regrets about walking away from millions

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Ilya Kovalchuk walked away from the New Jersey Devils -- and $77 million -- to play back home in Russia.

      Ilya Kovalchuk walked away from the New Jersey Devils -- and $77 million -- to play back home in Russia.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

Ilya Kovalchuk took his talents -- a rare blend of skill, speed and strength -- home to Russia last summer.

And it doesn't sound as if Kovalchuk has any regrets about his abrupt retirement from the NHL.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

The 30-year-old Kovalchuk likes life in Russia, where he can spend more time with his family while playing for SKA St. Petersburg in the Kontinental Hockey League.

"I'm really enjoying everything here," Kovalchuk said in a telephone interview after playing in Saturday's KHL All-Star game. "It's a great league. The game is different, but we are getting there. There are good players here for sure."

In any league, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound forward is one of the best. He hits, he's fast and he can handle the puck. Oh, he can score.

The New Jersey Devils know that now more than ever.

In the 10 years before he left, Kovalchuk had an NHL-high 388 goals and 765 points, trailing just Joe Thornton and Martin St. Louis, while with Atlanta and New Jersey. At the age of 20 with the Thrashers in his third year in the league, he scored a league-high 41 goals and at least matched that total in each of the next five seasons.

Yet the three-time All-Star walked away from $77 million and the 15-year contract he signed in 2010. The scrambling Devils signed 41-year-old Jaromir Jagr to fill in for their superstar. After talks with Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello, Kovalchuk was at peace with giving up guaranteed annual salaries of at least $11 million this season and in each of the next three seasons.

"I talked to Lou for sure and it wasn't just one day," Kovalchuk recalled. "I appreciate the way he handled the situation and I'm excited it worked out for both sides."

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here