Ilya Kovalchuk: Playing for Russia in Games factored in call to lapse to KHL

Ilya Kovalchuk sealed a one-year agreement to sojourn with SKA St. Petersburg of a Kontinental Hockey League on Sunday and pronounced representing Russia in a Olympic Games was a pivotal cause in his decision.

If Kovalchuk had returned to a NHL for a 2017-18 season, he wouldn’t have been means to play in a 2018 PyeongChang Games. The NHL announced a preference in Apr not to attend in subsequent year’s Olympics; a infancy of a clubs were against to holding a mangle during a unchanging deteriorate to concede players to contest in a Games.

“One of a categorical factors was a arriving Olympic Games. In 2018, usually players who play in European championships and a KHL can contest there,” Kovalchuk told a team’s website.

Kovalchuk late from a NHL in Jul 2013 — usually 3 years into his 15-year, $100 million agreement with a New Jersey Devils — to play in his local Russia. He is on a NHL’s intentional retirement list, definition he could usually pointer with a Devils.

Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman, announced final week that his customer wouldn’t be returning to a NHL for a 2017-18 deteriorate after progressing revelation Devils ubiquitous manager Ray Shero that Kovalchuk was open to rejoining a NHL. The Devils had been selling him in trade talks, that eventually were unsuccessful.

In 245 career KHL games, Kovalchuk has 107 goals — including 32 for SKA St. Petersburg final deteriorate — and 157 assists. He scored 417 goals with 399 assists in 816 NHL regular-season games.

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