BROSSARD, QC. — On Friday afternoon, the Montreal Canadiens announced that they had signed Ilya Kovalchuk to a one-year, two-way contract for the 2019-2020 season.
The deal has an annual value of $700,000 in the NHL and $70,000 in the AHL. Kovalchuk’s contract was terminated by Los Angeles Kings last month.
Kovalchuk last played on November 9th and spent over a month as a healthy scratch. He was then placed on unconditional waivers after receiving his contractual signing bonus.
“We’re trying to improve the team in the short-term without hurting the organization in the long-term,” described Marc Bergevin. “You have high-risk, medium-risk and no-risk moves. Bringing Kovy to Montreal, there’s no risk.”
The Russian native had three goals and six assists for nine points in 17 games with the Kings this season. Last season, Kovalchuk finished with 16 goals and 34 points in 64 games. It was his first season back since returning from the KHL.
Kovalchuk signed a three-year deal deal valued at $18.75 million which will continue to count against the Kings salary cap.
“He’s a player who’s motivated. In my conversation with Kovy this morning, I emphasized that we don’t want to take away what he does well. We also have a system, though, and he has to buy in. Again, there isn’t any risk for the organization with respect to assets or monetarily,” said the Canadiens general manager. “He knows it’s his last chance. We have nothing to lose. We’ll see where he’s at, where his game’s at, and we’ll go from there. It’s going to be up to him.”
He has played 897 career games in the NHL scoring 436 goals and 859 points.