Before Ilya Kovalchuk was the Atlanta Thrashers’ number one pick in 2001, he played two seasons in Russia for HC Spartak Moscow. When his NHL career began he was nominated for the Calder Memorial Trophy as league rookie-of-the-year. He has since then made three NHL All-Star appearances and won the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal scorer in 2004.
Kovalchuk was traded to the New Jersey Devils in February of 2010 after eight seasons with the Thrashers. After multiple contract offers and some controversial deals, Kovalchuk signed a 15 year, $100 million contract with the Devils.
After a slow first half of the season, Kovalchuk started to get back on his game and lit up. He had multiple streaks throughout the season and plenty of game winning goals (9 to be exact, 50 in his entire career). It was against the Leafs that he scored a game winning goal to give coach Jacques Lemaire his 600th win. In April of 2011, Kovalchuk played his 700th career game (again, against the Maple Leafs!) and got his 700th point on the same night.
He finished his first full season with the Devils with 31 goals and 29 assists for 60 points.
Kovalchuk has played in several IIHF World Championships, the World Cup and the Winter Olympics collecting a few gold, silver and bronze medals since 2001. Playing for Team Russia in this year’s IIHF World Championship sent him home with another silver medal.
We love having him on our team and look forward to watching him keep playing in red. I like to call him Goalvalchuk, what’s your nickname of choice?
|2010-2011 Season Stats|