Kovalchuk signs two-year contract with Avangard of KHL


Ilya Kovalchuk signed a two-year contract with Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League on Saturday. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

The 37-year-old forward, who was an unrestricted free agent, scored 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) in 46 NHL games with the Washington Capitals, Montreal Canadiens and Los Angeles Kings last season.

Kovalchuk scored four points (one goal, three assists) in seven games after he was traded to Washington by Montreal on Feb. 23. He scored 13 points (six goals, 13 assists) in 22 games with the Canadiens who claimed him off waivers from the Kings on Jan. 3. He had one assist in eight Stanley Cup Playoff games; the Capitals were defeated by the New York Islanders in five games in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round.

Last season, Kovalchuk scored nine points (three goals, six assists) in 17 games with the Kings and was a healthy scratch in his final 18 games before he was placed on unconditional waivers and had his contract terminated by the Kings on Dec. 17, 2019.

He signed a three-year, $18.75 million contract with the Kings on July 1, 2018, after five seasons with SKA St. Petersburg (2013-18) of the KHL, which included winning the Gagarin Cup twice (2015, 2017). Kovalchuk scored 60 points (26 goals, 34 assists) in 110 games after returning to the NHL.

The No. 1 pick by the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2001 NHL Draft, Kovalchuk has scored 876 points (443 goals, 433 assists) in 926 NHL games with the Thrashers, New Jersey Devils, Kings, Canadiens and Capitals, and 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists) in 40 playoff games. He scored 52 goals in 2005-06 and 2007-08 and has six seasons of at least 40 goals. He scored 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) to help the Devils reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2012, when they lost to the Kings in six games.

A two-time NHL All-Star (2011-12 First Team; 2003-04 Second Team), Kovalchuk won the Rocket Richard Trophy in 2003-04 when he tied for the League lead in goals with 41 (Rick Nash, Jarome Iginla).

Kovalchuk won a bronze medal with Russia at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and a gold medal with Olympic Athletes from Russia at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, when he scored seven points (five goals, two assists) in six games and was named tournament MVP. 

Tweet from @khl_eng: BREAKINGIlya Kovalchuk is back to KHL. pic.twitter.com/jdhppr2XdR

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