TFP has learned that the New Jersey Devils have re-signed unrestricted free agent superstar Ilya Kovalchuk to a multi-year contract. The 27-year-old forward will earn $102 million over 17-years.
The Devils official website and Twitter page later announced the signing, with a press conference scheduled for Tuesday.
Kovalchuk, 27, was traded to the Devils by the Atlanta Thrashers on Feb. 4, 2010, along with defenseman Anssi Salmela, in exchange for forward Niclas Bergfors, defenseman Johnny Oduya, prospect Patrice Cormier and a first-round pick. In 76 games with the Thrashers and Devils last season, he registered 41 goals and 44 assists for 85 points.
Kovalchuk's decision is believed to have come down to the Devils and the Los Angeles Kings, who met with the Russian left wing last week in Southern California.
In 621 career regular-season games with the Thrashers and Devils, Kovalchuk has accumulated 338 goals and 304 assists for 642 points. He was originally drafted first-overall by the Thrashers in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.
Kovalchuk will earn $6 million each of the next two seasons, $11.5 million for the following five seasons, $10.5 million in 2017-18, $8.5 million in 2018-19, $6.5 million in 2019-20, $3.5 million in 2020-21, $750,000 in 2021-22, and $550,000 for the final five years of his contract.