Kovalchuk was sixth in the NHL during the 2011-12 season with 37 goals and fifth with 83 points, and had 19 points in 23 games to help the Devils reach the Stanley Cup Final, despite playing through a back injury.
A native of Tver, Russia, Kovalchuk played for Spartak Moscow before he was chosen by the Atlanta Thrashers with the first pick of the 2001 NHL Draft.
He's only 17 but he can see the ice so well and he moves the puck and goes to the open ice all the time, so I just think he's a player that is ready to play in the NHL. I'm really looking forward to coaching someone like this.
— U.S. National Junior Team coach Ron Wilson on Auston Matthews, the projected No. 1 pick of the 2016 NHL Draft