Kovalchuk Left $77 Million On The Table When He 'Retired' In June

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Martin Brodeur believes the New Jersey Devils are over the sudden departure of star winger Ilya Kovalchuk.

The Russian goal-scoring ace bolted the Devils to return to Russia, agreeing a four-year contract with SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL. He previously played for SKA during the 2012-13 lockout. The former Devils alternate captain left 12 years and $77 million on the table by retiring from the NHL on July 11, 2013.

Brodeur spoke with reporters on Wednesday. The 41-year-old veteran credited the Devils organization for their handling of the Kovalchuk situation.

“I think it’s over. I think the organization dealt with it pretty good. I know if I had been them I would’ve been a lot more (ticked off). Put it that way,” Brodeur said, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. “But I think they did it the right way to forget about it and move on and get other people in.”

Brodeur said he thinks highly of 41-year-old winger Jaromir Jagr. The Devils signed Jagr to a one-year deal in July.

“He’s a quality hockey player, still, at his age,” Brodeur said. “He’s not just a superstar. He’s one of the best players to play the game. In my era at least. It’s like bringing in Wayne Gretzky. It’s like bringing in Mario Lemieux to our team.”

Jagr is expected to be a difference-maker on the power play now that Kovalchuk is gone.  He has scored 195 power play goals and contributed 362 power play assists since making his NHL debut in 1990.

Brodeur isn’t revealing whether 2013-14 will be his final NHL season.

“I’m just going to play this year,” Brodeur said. “I’m not going to comment on yes or no I won’t (come back). I’m not going to tell anyone I’m going to retire until I make the decision.”

Brodeur holds all-time career records in wins, games played, most regular season and playoff shutouts.

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