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NHL roundup: Kovalchuk signs with Russian team

The SportsXchange

Ilya Kovalchuk's retirement was cut very short.

The former New Jersey Devils star forward surprised the league last week by calling it quits on his NHL career, but has already signed a four-year contract with SKA St. Petersburg, a Russian team in the KHL.

The league announced the deal Monday. It could be worth $15 million per season, according to multiple media reports.

Kovalchuk retired from the NHL last Thursday, just three years removed from signing a 15-year, $100 million contract.

Kovalchuk still has $77 million remaining on the deal.

He scored 11 goals with 20 assists in 37 games in last season's lockout-shortened campaign, posting a minus-6 ratio.

Kovalchuk can return to the NHL in 2018 when he turns 35 as an unrestricted free agent.

---Center Josh Bailey has agreed to terms on a five-year contract with the New York Islanders, the team announced.

Financial terms were not announced, ESPN reported the deal is worth $16.5 million, with a cap hit of $3.3 million.

Bailey, 23, had 11 goals and eight assists in 38 games this past season.

---Former Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ron Hextall is back with the Flyers as their assistant general manager, the team announced.

Hextall, 49, was the Los Angeles Kings' assistant general manager since 2005-06.

---Montreal Canadiens 25-year-old forward Blake Geoffrion announced his retirement as a result of a serious head injury he sustained while playing in the NHL in November.

----The Detroit Red Wings avoided arbitration with defenseman Brendan Smith, who agreed to a two-year deal, the team announced. CBC reported the deal is worth $2.525 million.

---The Florida Panthers reached agreement on a two-year deal with goalie Jacob Markstrom, the Miami Herald reported.

The contract for Markstrom, 23, is a two-way deal in 2013-14 and a one-way deal in 2014-15.

---The Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed forward J.T. Brown to a one-year, two-way contract.

Brown, 23, had 10 goals and 18 assists with 27 penalty minutes in 51 games last season with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League.
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