Former Devils F Ilya Kovalchuk will likely make his return to the NHL in the 2018-19 season, per NJ.com's Chris Ryan.
Kovalchuk expressed interest in returning to the NHL this season with the Devils granting him permission to seek a deal with other teams. However, he told Russia-24 TV that he will likely play one last season in the SKA before returning to the states.
Ilya Kovalchuk to Russia-24 TV channel: I think this will be my last season in SKA. I want to return to the NHL. There're some dreams left- Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) July 21, 2017
As Kovalchuk sought deals this season, the Devils were not opposed to making a sign-and-trade. However, GM Ray Shero said the deal had to make sense for the Devils.
New Jerey still holds Kovalchuk's NHL rights as he left in the middle of his 17-year, $102 million deal after the 2012-13 season. He finished with 11 goals and 31 points in 37 games that season.
In 60 games last season, the 34-year-old totaled 32 goals and 78 points.