In 2013, Ilya Kovalchuk, the man who’s been called the best natural scorer the NHL has ever seen, made a decision to retire in the show just 3 seasons into a 15-year deal with the New Jersey Devils and return to Russia to play out the rest of his professional career in the KHL. Well, don’t call it a comeback, however the 34-year-old Kovie is considering a return to North America for the season. The Russian sniper, who collected 816 points in 816 career matches played in the NHL, has played portions of the previous four seasons for SKA Saint Petersburg and is coming off a year where he amassed 78 points in 60 games — good for second in the league in scoring. Although there’s a ton of challenges to clear if Kovie wants to play for a team other than New Jersey, BetOnline believes there is a 4/1 chance he starts the 2017-18 NHL season on the roster of the Montreal Canadiens. In order for Kovalchuk to have cleared as a free agent, each NHL team (such as New Jersey) would need to reevaluate his unrestricted release from the Devils and I am not so sure that’s realistic. The Devils got seriously screwed by the Kovie retirement and it’s unlikely they will need him scoring goals against them at no cost. What could occur, however, is that the Devils (who still own his rights) agree to his return, signal him promptly trade him to another group. As for the possibility of the former Maurice”Rocket” Richard Trophy winner teaming up with the Habs — it makes a great deal of sense. Former KHLer Alex Radulov combined the Canadiens last offseason on a one-piece bargain and it seems like they will try hard to re-sign him. Radulov has hinted that he’d like general manager Marc Bergevin to make a run at Kovalchuk and awarded the Habs’ serious problems at the end, Kovie could be precisely what le physician ordered. Montreal has a strong Russian contingent together with the aforementioned Radulov, Alex Galchenyuk, Andrei Markov and Mikhail Sergachev on the roster and also an all-Ruski forward line of Kovie-Gally-Rad will be incredible to see. All that said, the transaction to acquire Kovalchuk from the Devils are a tough one to negotiate and it would probably demand the Habs to provide a blue-liner and a future draft pick or two. There are also a ton of different clubs in the race to scoop the marksman of 417 NHL aims so by no means will this be an easy effort for Habs’ Steel to accomplish, and remember — all this is under the premise that the Russian winger even determines to come back whatsoever. Read more here: