Kovy needed an insane amount of ice time for a forward to get his numbers in 2012. Don't get me wrong, I think his game came a long way at that point...it was obvious when he first became a Devil that there were a lot of holes in his game that saw improvement that season. But I don't think he's that player anymore, and I think he knew it too when he retired from the NHL.
The Devils didn't "almost" make the playoffs in 10-11 (they never got closer than six points), and a lot of players got hot in the second half for a while. That second half was entertaining and they made things a little interesting, but let's face it, that team was playing with absolutely no pressure on it when they came to life...they also weren't nearly as bad as that first half suggested, so it made sense that things evened out for them.
There's diminishing returns on minutes. I wouldn't hold the minutes against him. I would hold 2013 against him, though.