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Former Devils Star Considering Retirement from Hockey, Interested in Management Role

Ilya Kovalchuk explains in an interview he’s likely going to retire, would like to work in a management role in the future.

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New Jersey Devils

According to the former New Jersey Devils forward, Russian superstar Ilya Kovalchuk is contemplating retirement.

Kovalchuk, 41, explained in a video interview that he believes he’s skated in his last game. Further, Kovalchuk stated he’d be interested in a management position if one would be offered to him.

“[I am] 99% [sure] that I played my last match. I’m open to offers [to become a manager,]” Kovalchuk explained of his future.

You can view a snippet of the video interview here.

The Devils acquired Kovalchuk from the Atlanta Thrashers in the final year of his contract in exchange for defenceman Johnny Oduya, rookie forward Niclas Bergfors, junior prospect Patrice Cormier, and a first-round selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Kovalchuk went through a plethora of hurdles, including a vetoed contract by the NHL, however, wound up signing a mega 15-year, $100 million contract to remain with New Jersey.

Or so the Devils thought.

Kovalchuk eventually opted to retire from the NHL after two full seasons in New Jersey. The former Devils star then played in the KHL from 2013 to 2018, only to then return to the NHL in 2018, playing with the Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, and Washington Capitals through 2020.

Kovalchuk returned to the KHL in 2020, signing a two-year contract with Avangard Omsk. 

After his contract expired in 2022, Kovalchuk took a two-year hiatus from hockey and returned to his youth club Spartak Moscow.

It’s suspected that Kovalchuk would accept a role in the KHL, potentially with Spartak sometime in the future.

In his 13-year NHL career, Kovalchuk scored 443 goals and 433 assists for 876 points in 926 games.

In his eight-year KHL career, Kovalchuk scored 147 goals and 205 assists for 352 points in 334 games.

Adam Henrique, Adam Larsson, and Zach Parise are the only two active Devils remaining from the 2012-13 roster still playing in the NHL. However, Parise confirmed he is retiring following the 2023-24 season.

Special thanks to @HockeyNewsHub for the information and translation of the interview.

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