Rumor: Kovalchuk may opt back to the KHL if he can’t get trade to NYR or CBJ

I have learned through sources that Ilya Kovalchuk has put in a trade request to either the New York Rangers or Columbus Blue Jackets.

A New Jersey Devils source has confirmed that Kovalchuk has been granted permission to talk contract terms with the two clubs on his list. In order for Kovalchuk to become a member of the NYR or CBJ, he must first sign a deal with the New Jersey Devils, then be traded to his destination in a “sign and trade”.

Reports surfaced of Ilya’s desire to play for the Rangers back in May from Elliotte Friedman. At the time, it was also believed the Rangers wouldn’t be interested, However, with the additional cap space and the loss of offense in the Derek Stepan trade, they may change their minds.

Not much is known as of now re: the return in a trade, however a deal would have to be agreed to by not only Kovalchuk, but Devils GM Ray Shero. FullTiltNYR has also learned that if not sent to his two destinations of choice, Ilya Kovalchuk may opt to return to KHL for one more season. He then will be coming back next year as a UFA at 35 years old.

The earliest for a deal to be completed is July 1st, so over the next few days, stay tuned to @NHLRumorsDaily and for the latest in this evolving situation.

Catch up on the latest rumors here regarding Joe Thornton, Brendan Smith, and the search for a backup.

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