aPRIL 29, 2018 | 11:49aM ET



Ilya Kovalchuk


The New York Rangers have been in touch with Ilya Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman, about his intentions of returning to the NHL next season.

Kovalchuk, 35, is an unrestricted free agent and is allowed to speak with NHL clubs, but cannot sign a contract until July 1.

Rangers GM Jeff Gorton confirmed speaking with Grossman, as first reported by Sportsnet’s John Shannon on Saturday night, furthering speculation the two sides are interested in working out a deal.

It’s unclear, at this point, what Kovalchuk is looking for, though many speculate he wants a three-year contract, which could see him earning around $6 million per season.

“We’ve checked in with him,” Gorton said, as quoted by the New York Post. “It’s fair to say that’s something we’re going to look at again further and see what’s going on.”

Kovalchuk last played in the NHL in 2012-13 with the New Jersey Devils before bolting for SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL.

In 816 career NHL regular-season games with the Atlanta Thrashers and Devils, Kovalchuk has registered 417 goals and 399 assists for 816 points.