After 16 seasons, 926 games, and 443 goals, it appears that Ilya Kovalchuk has played his last game in the NHL after signing a two-year contract with Avangard Omsk of the KHL. Last year, the 37-year-old forward scored a combined 26 points with the Montreal Canadiens, Los Angeles Kings, and Washington Capitals.
After five seasons in the KHL from 2013-2018, Ilya Kovalchuk signed a three-year deal with the Kings on July 1, 2018. He was played on unconditional waiver and his contract was ended by the Kings a week before Christmas in 2019. Claimed off waivers by the Canadiens, Kovalchuk scored 13 points with the Canadiens and four points with the Capitals in seven games. He was almost non-existent in eight playoff games, recording just one assist.
Ilya Kovalchuk was a number one draft pick by the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2001 NHL Draft. A competent scorer, he led the league in goals with 41 in 2003-2004. Kovalchuk scored at least 40 goals for six consecutive seasons and 30 or more goals in a season ten times. Kovalchuk had plenty of success in the postseason, recording 19 points in 2012 to help the New Jersey Devils get to the Stanley Cup Finals. In addition to be excellent in the NHL, Kovalchuk shined on the world stage. He won a bronze medal at the 2002 Olympics with Russia and a gold medal with Olympic Athletes from Russia at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
I suppose the door should not be completely closed on Kovalchuk returning to the NHL since he did so before after five years away. However, he will be 39 years old when his contract expires. Perhaps Ilya Kovalchuk may return in some coaching capacity.