The Rangers recently reached out to Kovalchuk about his interest in joining the squad, Cory Wilkins of theScore reports.

Nothing can be acted on until free agency opens July 1, but this appears to be a good sign that Kovalchuk could end up back in North America next year. The 2001 first overall pick played 10 outstanding seasons in the NHL, racking up 417 goals and 816 points in 816 games before returning to his home country after the 2012-13 season to play in the KHL. It's unclear if Kovalchuk will be able to return to his former production, but the 35-year-old scored five goals and added two helpers to lead Russia to a gold medal in the 2018 Winter Olympics, which certainly helps his chances.

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