Ilya Kovalchuk
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

New Jersey Devils fans wasted no time taking their thoughts to Twitter after Ilya Kovalchuk signed with the Los Angeles Kings.

New Jersey Devils fans have been waiting a long time for the day that forward Ilya Kovalchuk would make his official return back to the NHL after the Russian superstar left Jersey’s team hanging when he retired from the NHL back in the summer of 2013.

Then, Kovalchuk had just completed his third year of a 15-year contract that was signed in 2010, but the winger decided he wanted to go back to Russia and join SKA St. Petersburg on a four-year deal.

It was around the same time that not only saw Kovalchuk depart Jersey, but also saw David Clarkson and Zach Parise bolt via unrestricted free agency (UFA).

It was a dark and confusing time for the Devils and their fans.

Up until this past season, New Jersey hadn’t qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2012 when the team reached the Stanley Cup Final with Kovalchuk as a key asset in the process.

Since the Russian sniper left to go play in the KHL, there were always strong rumors that Kovalchuk would, in fact, come back to the NHL, but more than likely sign with the Devils biggest rival, the New York Rangers.

It didn’t happen. Instead, Kovalchuk officially made his return after his KHL contract expired with SKA this offseason and signed with the Los Angeles Kings.

The 35-year-old and 2018 Olympic Gold Medal winner almost signed a mega contract with the Kings back in the 2010 offseason, but, somehow, the Devils managed to ink the superstar instead.

This time around, the former 40 goal-scorer signed a three-year contract worth $6.25 million (AVV) with Los Angeles and while Devils fans will only see him twice next season, they’re already ready to let him hear and feel the constant “boos” in which former Devil Scott Gomez once endured after he signed with the hated Rangers in 2007 UFA.

Below are New Jersey Devils fans reactions over Twitter to Kovalchuk making his return back to the NHL. Let’s just say, “The Rock still remembers.”

The New Jersey Devils even got in on the action. The Devils host the Kings on Feb. 5, 2019.

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Kyle McKenna is a freelancer who covers the NHL for Elite Sports New York, Hooked On Hockey Magazine & Fansided. Follow him on Twitter @KMcKenna_tLT5 and use the hashtag #McKennasDigest to have your NHL questions featured in an article or answered over his weekly NHL podcast.