Ilya Kovalchuk scored 41 goals and added 44 assists last season with the New Jersey Devils and Atlanta Thrashers. ((Mel Evans/Associated Press))

Ilya Kovalchuk may remain a New Jersey Devil after all.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed to ESPN on Friday that the New Jersey Devils have submitted a new contract with the free-agent forward to the league for approval.

Daly told ESPN that the NHL now has five days to review the contract.

Terms of the potential contract have yet to be released.

Friday's revelation is the latest turn in a soap opera that began on July 19, when the Devils announced they signed Kovalchuk to a 17-year, $102 million US deal.

The NHL rejected the contract the following day, saying it circumvented the league's collective bargaining agreement.

The NHL Players Association filed a grievance July 26 in response to the league's rejection, which led to an arbitration hearing between the two sides.

Arbitrator Richard Bloch on Aug. 9 upheld the league's decision to reject the contract, and as a result Kovalchuk re-entered the free-agent market, although the Devils continued their efforts to sign the left-winger.

Kovalchuk, who scored 41 goals and added 44 assists last season with the Devils and Atlanta Thrashers, was the most coveted free agent this off-season.

He has already turned down two offers from Atlanta — a seven-year deal worth $70 million and a $101-million pact over 12 seasons.