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The LA Kings and forward have agreed to terms on a three-year contract, Kings Vice President and General Manager Rob Blake announced today. NBC Sports reported that the contract is a three years, $6.25M AAV.
“We are excited to add Ilya to the LA Kings organization. He gives us an added element of skill and scoring along with a desire to win. We will withhold further comment until July 1,” said Blake.
The 35-year-old Kovalchuk (born April 15, 1983) is a 6-3, 230-pound native of Tver, Russia who appeared in 53 regular-season games this past season with SKA St. Petersburg (KHL), recording 63 points (31-32=63), 26 penalty minutes and a plus-12 rating.
He led the KHL in points, ranked second in goals, fifth in assists and tied for third in game-winning goals (6). He helped lead SKA to the Western Conference Final before falling to CSKA. He tallied 10 points in 15 postseason games (6-4=10), 12 penalty minutes and a plus-5 rating.
Kovalchuk last appeared in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils during the 2012-13 season.
A first overall selection of the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Kovalchuk was a point-per-game player, appearing in 816 regular-season games with the Thrashers and Devils, posting 816 points (417-399=816) and 516 penalty minutes. From 2001 to 2013, no active player scored more goals than Kovalchuk’s 417. He has had two 50-plus goal seasons, and cleared the 40-goal plateau six consecutive years (2003-04 to 2009-10). His 0.51 goals-per-game percentage ranks 18th all-time in league history.
During his 11 NHL seasons, he tied for the Maurice Richard Trophy once (2003-04), was selected to three All-Star games (2003-04, 2007-08 and 2008-09), was selected as a First Team All-Star in 2011-12 and a Second Team All-Star in 2003-04.