Report: Ilya Kovalchuk, Devils Reach Agreement
National Hockey League All Star winger Ilya Kovalchuk is moving to the New Jersey Devils after rejecting several offers from the Atlanta Thrashers, ESPN.com reports.
The website said the Thrashers agreed to let go of their franchise player after the 26-year-old Russian opted not to renew his contract. Atlanta would receive Niclas Bergfors, Johnny Oduya, Patrice Cormier, and a first-round draft pick in exchange for Kovalchuk, arguably the best player Atlanta has ever had.
Kovalchuk was in several teams’ wish list, with the Flyers, Blackhawks, Kings, Rangers, and Bruins among the more aggressive ones in trying to acquire 2001’s top overall pick. Kovalchuk, who is on track to eclipse the 50-goal mark for the third time in his career, would be a big boost to the Devils’ mission of winning the Stanley Cup. New Jersey currently leads the Atlantic and is within reach of winning the division for the fourth time in five seasons. Kovalchuk would be leaving Atlanta as the Thrashers’ all-time leader in almost all offensive statistical categories, including goals (328) and assists (287).