Canadiens sign Kovalcuk to a one-year deal for 2019-20 season

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

The Montreal Canadiens signed Ilya Kovalchuk to a free agent contract on Friday. According to CBC Sports, it is a one-year, two-way contract.

He can make $700,000 in the NHL. However, if he spends time in the American Hockey League, he’ll receive $70,000.

Former Los Angeles Kings forward Ilya Kovalchuk awaits a face-off against the Arizona Coyotes
Ilya Kovalchuk awaits a face-off against the Arizona Coyotes (Getty Images)

Kovalchuk had his contract terminated on Dec. 17 by the Los Angeles Kings. He then became an unrestricted free agent.

Despite his release, Kings retain Kovalchuk’s $6.25 million cap hit, according to Spotrac. That’s 8.12% of their salary cap.

The 36-year-old Tver, USSR native spent just 17 games with the Kings. He had three goals and six assists for nine points during the 2019-20 season. He had a – 10 +/- and 12 PIM.

Kovalchuk had 16 goals during 64 appearances during the 2018-19 season. He also had 18 assists for 34 points. That season, he also had a – 26 +/- and 10 PIM.

He signed with the Kings after spending several years with SKA Saint Petersburg in the Kontinental Hockey League. Kovalchuk previously retired from the NHL on July 11, 2013 and continued to play overseas.

When he signed with the Kings, he had agreed to a three-year, $18.75 million deal, according to the CBC Sports.

The Canadiens are Kovalchuk’s fourth franchise. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 NHL Draft by the Atlanta Trashers.

He was then traded in a blockbuster deal to the New Jersey Devils on February 4, 2010. He was traded to the Devils, along with Anssi Salmela and Jonathon Merrill in exchange for Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors, and Patrice Cormier.

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