Ilya Kovalchuk retirement made many people to raise their eyebrows. Kovy signed to a 15-year, $100 million contract with New Jersey in September 2010 and he had 12 years and $77 million remaining. This is surprising for everyone in the team and hockey world.
Captain Bryce Salvador told The Star-Ledger about Kovalchuk “It’s definitely shocking, just from the standpoint that he’s retiring from the League, especially at his age, and he’s still able to play,” he added, “It’s different when you have to retire when it’s the end of the road and you can’t find anything else. This is a permanent decision. “It’s shocking because of his contract. He can’t just change his mind next year or a couple of years after that.”
The Devils Forward Patrik Elias told The Star-Ledger that “I’ve never seen anything like this in my 18 years here, No question it’s going to affect the team”. Also, Elias added “It’s going to be an interesting time for management and the owners to figure out what to do without Kovy. We lost Zach last year. Now Kovy. Those are pretty big guys.”
Last week Elias signed a three-year contract with the Devils.
Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates, who was an assistant with the Devils in 2011-12, compared Kovalchuk’s departure to LeBron James’.
Adam Oates, Washington Capitals coach compared Kovy’s departure to LeBron James’ “He’s a superstar; it’s kind of like when LeBron left Cleveland.” he added “It reversed two franchises that fast; it’s a different sport, so it’s not quite accurate.”
Oates belived that the GM Lou Lamoriello will overcome this situation and will run the team in right track.
He [Lou Lamoriello] is the type of man, he’s dealt with adversity before,” Oates said. “He’ll get through it no question, but still it’s arguably their best player they’re missing right now.”