Ilya Kovalchuk was traded to the New Jersey Devils this season, after eight years with the Atlanta Thrashers. ((Jim McIsaac/Getty Images))

Reports say Ilya Kovalchuk will be offered a whopping contract to join SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) next season.

Sport-Express, a Russian newspaper, reported that the team plans to make the New Jersey Devils left winger an offer worth $42 million US over three years. The reports have not be verified.

Kovalchuk becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

After spending eight seasons with the Atlanta Thrashers, Kovalchuk requested a trade partway through the 2009-2010 season.

Atlanta general manager Don Waddell offered Kovalchuk over $100 million in a long-term contract to remain with the team, but was unable to re-sign the 27-year-old star.

Kovalchuk was dealt to the New Jersey Devils before the trade deadline.

He slumped during periods with his new club, but managed to notch 27 points, with 10 goals and 17 assists, in 27 games to finish the regular season.

Kovalchuk's offence was unable to spark a playoff run for the Devils. He tallied two goals and four assists as the Devils fell to the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Kovalchuk was drafted first overall by the Thrashers in the 2001 NHL entry draft. He is a three-time all-star and won the Maurice Richard trophy as the league's top goal scorer in 2004. 

He has scored 642 points, with 338 goals and 304 assists, in 621 NHL games over his nine-year career.

SKA's president Alexander Medvedev has openly expressed his interest in bringing Kovalchuk to KHL. Former NHL centre Alexei Yashin currently plays for the team.

Medvedev also serves as the president of the KHL, and has been trying to develop a league that will one-day rival the NHL.