Docs Menu

Ilya Kovalchuk

Born:April 15, 1983Draft:2001 Thrashers #1 Overall
Hometown:Tver, RussiaPosition:LW/RW
Known For:Hard one timerShoots:Right
National Team:Russia

Ilya Valeryevich Kovalchuk (Russian: Илья Валерьевич Ковальчук; born April 15, 1983) is a Russian professional ice hockey winger who is currently playing for Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League. He previously played for the Atlanta Thrashers, New Jersey Devils, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, and Washington Capitals in the NHL, as well as Ak Bars Kazan, Khimik Moscow Oblast, and SKA Saint Petersburg in the Russian Superleague (RSL) and Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).

Kovalchuk developed in the youth system of Spartak Moscow, joining their senior team in the Vysshaya Liga in 1999. After two seasons with Spartak, he joined the Atlanta Thrashers of the NHL, who selected him first overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. After eight seasons with the Thrashers, he was traded to the New Jersey Devils in 2010, with whom he signed a 15-year, $100 million contract, after a 17-year, $102 million deal was rejected by the NHL. In 2013, he left the NHL to return to Russia, joining SKA Saint Petersburg, where he played for five seasons before returning to the NHL in 2018.

Kovalchuk is tied for fourth all-time in the NHL for regular-season overtime goals scored (15), 18th all-time in goals per game average (.511), and the seventh-highest scoring Russian in NHL history. In the NHL, Kovalchuk has twice been named to the end of season All-Star Team, and in 2004 finished in a three-way tie for the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goal-scorer, sharing it with Jarome Iginla and Rick Nash.

Internationally, Kovalchuk has played for Russia in the IIHF World U18 Championship, World Junior Championship, World Championship, World Cup, and Winter Olympics, and won the 2008 and 2009 World Championships. At the 2018 Winter Olympics, Kovalchuk was named the most valuable player while helping Olympic Athletes from Russia win the gold medal.

Ilya Kovalchuk Washington Capitals
Ilya Kovalchuk, Washington Capitals (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Ilya Kovalchuk Statistics

Deeper Dive


  • Captain of the Thrashers (2009-2010)
  • Three-time World Championship Bronze Medalist (2005, 2007, 2019)
  • KHL All-Star Game (2018)
  • Olympic All-Star Team (2018)
  • Olympic Gold Medal (2018)
  • Olympic Most Valuable Player (2018)
  • Two-time KHL Gagarin Cup Champion (2015, 2017)
  • KHL All-Star Game (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 – did not play, 2017)
  • KHL Playoffs MVP (2015)
  • Two-time World Championship Silver Medalist (2010, 2015)
  • World Championship Top 3 Player on Team Russia (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013)
  • NHL First All-Star Team (2012)
  • Two-time World Championship Gold Medalist (2008, 2009)
  • Played in the NHL All-Star Game three times (2004, 2008, 2009)
  • World Championship Best Forward (2009)
  • World Championship All-Star Team (2009)
  • Russian Player of the Year (Valeri Kharlamov Trophy) (2004)
  • NHL Second All-Star Team (2004)
  • Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy (2004)
  • Olympic Bronze Medal (2002)
  • NHL YoungStars Roster (2002)
  • NHL All-Rookie Team (2002)
  • U18 World Junior Championship (WJC) All-Star Team (2001)
  • U18 WJC Best Forward (2001)
  • U18 WJC Gold Medal (2001)
  • U17 World Hockey Championship Gold Medal (2000)
  • U18 WJC Silver Medal (2000)