Ilya Kovalchuk may be staring down an NHL return.
According to a source of the Iltalehti newspaper in Helsinki, Finland, the 31-year-old has discussed returning to North America for the 2016-17 season; the final year of his contract with his KHL team.
Kovalchuck bolted to St. Petersburg SKA following the 2012-13 season, retiring from the NHL just three years into his 15-year, $100 million contract with the New Jersey Devils.
He cited being closer to his family as his reason for returning to his home country.
Kovalchuk signed a four-year deal with St. Petersburg upon leaving the NHL, leaving 2016-17 as his last year under contract.
Iltalehti's source cites money as the 2001 first-overall pick's reason for considering a return. Kovalchuk owns the KHL's richest salary but the value of the Russian Ruble has fallen greatly in recent months due to economic sanctions.
If Kovalchuk attempts to return to the NHL prior to turning 35 (2018-19 season), he would have to receive approval from all 30 franchises.
The former Atlanta Thrasher draft pick has scored 137 points in his 135 KHL games since leaving the NHL