Ilya Kovalchuk isn't coming to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
He isn't coming to the NHL at all, at least this upcoming season.
According to his agent, Jay Grossman, he is returning to the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). It isn't known at the moment where he will return to in Russia but he has played for SKA St. Petersburg the past five seasons.
Jay Grossman, the agent for Ilya Kovalchuk, confirms that his client will return to the KHL in 2017-18— Mike Morreale (@mikemorrealeNHL) July 4, 2017
Last season Kovalchuk played in 60 games for St. Petersburg and put up 78 points including 32 goals and 46 assists.
As of July 1, 2018, Kovalchuk will become a free agent and the New Jersey Devils will no longer hold his rights.
This also ensures that Kovalchuk will be able to play in the Olympics for Russia in 2018 given the NHL's unwillingness to participate in the event.