Published September 18, 2012
| Sports Network
St. Petersburg, Russia – New Jersey Devils star forward Ilya Kovalchuk has officially returned home.
The 29-year-old Russian-born winger inked a deal with SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League on Tuesday.
Kovalchuk totaled 37 goals and 83 points in 77 regular-season games for the Devils, who fell in a six-game Stanley Cup Finals to Los Angeles this past spring. In 23 postseason tilts, he posted eight goals and 11 assists.
Prior to arriving in North America, Kovalchuk suited up for Spartak Moscow (1999-2001), and spent 53 games with Ak Bars Kazan during the 2004-05 lockout, during which he tallied 19 goals and 42 points.
The NHL locked out its players early Sunday morning after the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement.
Last week, the KHL announced rules for signing players under NHL contracts in the event of a lockout. Teams can sign a maximum of three NHL players and the deals will include clauses for players to leave the KHL once the lockout is resolved.