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.
It's not just going to happen on its own. We have to have guys commit to the areas we need to improve on. We're going to be better than last year but there is still a long way to go. But I really like the pieces and where we're headed.
— Sabres forward Tyler Ennis on the progress of Buffalo's rebuilding process