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Ilya Kovalchuk visits Kings as he eyes NHL return

The Kings have renewed interest in Ilya Kovalchuk.

The former NHL scoring dynamo visited the team’s practice facility and met with Kings President Luc Robitaille and general manager Rob Blake, among other staff members, on Friday, a team official confirmed. The visit was first reported by Darren Dreger of TSN.

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Kovalchuk, 35, is believed to be eyeing a return to the NHL, where he last played in 2012-13, for the New Jersey Devils. He returned to his native Russia after that lockout season and reportedly signed a four-year contract to play for SKA Saint Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League.

Kovalchuk and the Kings had a similar meeting in July of 2010 when Kovalchuk was exploring free agency.

The Kings increased their offense this season, from 2.43 goals a game to 2.89, but fizzled out in a four-game sweep by the Vegas Golden Knights in which they scored three goals. Kovalchuk was a two-time 52-goal scorer early in his career and has 417 goals in 816 NHL games.

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