The shock of Ilya Kovalchuk‘s retirement last week from the NHL is still making waves. Whether people are angry for dumping his former team, the New Jersey Devils, or walking away from so much money or any other resaon people can think of, it does not matter anymore. Apparently, Kovalchuk has moved on quickly, and without much regret, from his former team to SKA St. Petersberg in the Russian KHL with a new monster deal already inked.
It seems that money was the deciding factor in Kovalchuk’s decision to leave. The U.S. tax system and some financial technicalities in the NHL with players’ salaries helped contribute to his decision to leave according to his mother who was quoted in a Russian newspaper. Reports coming out of Russia indicate that Kovalchuk will be making a massive $15-to-$20 million dollars per season playing for his new team. In as little as six years, he could make the money back on his previous contract with his new team.
Another contributing factor is his social ties to the area of St. Petersburg. During the NHL lockout this season, he reportedly liked playing for SKA St. Petersburg and has some old friends working with the club. Of course, this is all in addition to being born and raised in Russia too.
So, although the Devils have been left out in the rain because of all this, Kovalchuk has done what he wanted all in his best interest and it appears to be paying off, for now. I would not expect any NHL team to take a chance on him in the future for the money he wants if he decides to return. It looks like Kovalchuk is gone for good and his NHL playing days are in the past.