Kovalchuk has Discussed NHL Return: Report

Former NHL superstar Ilya Kovalchuk has reportedly had talks with one league general manager about making his North American return.

Shortly after being stripped of his captaincy and benched during the playoffs with his current KHL team, SKA St. Petersburg, Kovalchuk threatened a return to the NHL if things didn’t go his way. It seems the plot has thickened even more for the Russian winger.

Before Kovalchuk can re-enter the NHL, he would need to gain approval from all 30 team owners. If he attempted a return this season, he would need to clear waivers before being allowed to play with the team that signs him.

Just three years into his 15-year, $100 million contract with the New Jersey Devils, Kovalchuk retired from the NHL to play in Russia just after the 2012-13 season ended.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly weighed in on the Kovalchuk situation at Coors Field in Denver during the Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings Stadium Series game.

“It’s a complicated situation, so unless and until he wants to come back to the National Hockey League, he wants to sign a contract, I’m not going to be able to tell you definitively what rules apply and how they apply,” he said. “What I would say is, having signed his voluntary retired list form and being on our list, that gives the Devils preferential rights to his NHL [rights].”

Stay tuned with The Hockey Writers for developing news on this story, as well as all trade deadline coverage.

Related: Should the Devils Welcome Back Ilya Kovalchuk to New Jersey?