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.
I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.
— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie