New Jersey Devil forward Ilya Kovalchuk has surprising decided to retire from the NHL.

The 30-year-old was under a long term contract with the Devils, but has decided to leave the fame and money behind and return home to Russia. I was extremely shocked by this decision. Kolvalchuk made a name for himself playing for the Atlanta Thrashers. He spent his last four years with the Devils, and has left the NHL far too soon in my opinion. 

Ilya Kovalchuk’s has tallied an impressive total of 816 points in his 11 seasons in the NHL. He has represented Russia in many competitions including three Winter Olympics and nine World Championships, One World Juniors, and one World Cup. 

That being said, I believe his career as a hockey player is far from over. I’m sure this experienced player will have no trouble finding and signing with a team in the Russian League. The NHL may have lost a great player. But I’m sure he’ll be ready and willing to begin a new chapter in his career within the Russian League.  

In fact, I’m sure he’ll end up making the same amount of money he was when he was in the NHL anyway. And now Kolvalchuk won’t have to compete with fellow countrymen Alexander Ovechkin either. 

This is clearly a winning situation for Kolvalchuk. For the New Jersey Devils, replacing Kolvalchuk will be a challenge. However, recently acquired forwards Michael Ryder and Ryan Clowe will certainly help fill this surprising roster vacancy. I believe Michael Ryder will be one of the candidates to take on the responsibility of assistant captain as well.

Again, I’m very upset about this decision. I believe Ilya Kolvalchuk is a fantastic player, and has chosen to leave the NHL far too early in his career. However, I have no doubt he’ll be making headlines in the Russian League very, very soon.

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