Dmitry Chesnokov (Puck Daddy/TSN) brings us the latest on the Alexander Radulov-to-Nashville saga:
In 2010, Radulov signed a two-year extension with Salavat (with one year left on his initial contract.) It was a surprising move — many thought he’d want back in the NHL after his first tour of the KHL was up.
What was the reason behind staying in the KHL? [Radulov’s Russian agent Yuri ] Nikolaev explained:
“Let’s look at it from the point of view of Radulov’s careers. The CBA between the NHL and the NHLPA will expire in the next couple of years. If Radulov’s contract expired next year, he would have one more year to wait until the new CBA in North America.
The NHLPA now has new people with their new vision of things, and no one understands when and how the new CBA is going to be signed and what may happen if the new CBA is not signed in time.
That’s why we decided to wait and see what is going to happen over there, and what CBA will be signed. And then we will have a choice.”
Radulov decided to extend his contract in the KHL to cover a possible lockout. His agent confirmed that the player didn’t consider coming back to the NHL until the new CBA is signed.
At some point, Radulov made the decision to head back to North America at the end of the 2011-12 KHL season rather than wait for the NHL to sign a new CBA. Why? Well, one would think it has to do with playing out his final year of his entry-level deal with Nashville, which would allow him to become a free agent this summer.
Theoretically speaking, Radulov could cash in with a solid end-of-season/playoff performance with the Preds — especially since this summer’s FA forward market has thinned out with the likes of Ales Hemsky, Mikhail Grabovski and Tuomo Ruutu all re-upping with their respective clubs.
With their season on the line on Friday night the Philadelphia Flyers are making a change in goal.
Michal Neuvirth, who has played just 59 minutes of NHL hockey since Feb. 18, will get the Game 5 start in goal when they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Neuvirth replaced Brian Elliott in Philadelphia’s Game 4 loss on Wednesday night after Elliott gave up three goals on 17 shots, the second time he was benched in the first four games. The Flyers have already used three goalies in this series with Elliott, Neuvirth, and Petr Mrazek all getting playing time. None of them have played well.
Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers, William Karlsson of the Vegas Golden Knights, and Ryan O’Reilly of the Buffalo Sabres have been named as the three finalists for the 2018 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, the NHL announced on Friday. The award, voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association, is given “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
The winner will be announced during the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas on June 20.
The Case for Aleksander Barkov: The Panthers center certainly has the “high standard of playing ability” part down with a season that saw him lead the team with 78 points and finish tied for third in goals with 27. Barkov played the fifth-most minutes (1,743:32) among NHL forwards and only picked up seven minor penalties. This is the second time he’s been named a finalist in the last three seasons.
The Case for William Karlsson: Karlsson had a monster of a season with 43 goals and 78 points during the Golden Knights’ historic first year. In playing 1,534:47, the 25-year-old forward racked up only 12 PIMs. Should Karlsson win, he would become the first player to win an end-of-season trophy for a team in its inaugural season since Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers won the Byng and Hart Trophy and in 1979-80.
The Case for Ryan O'Reilly: O’Reilly missed one game this season and logged 1,686:10 of ice time for the Sabres. He recorded only one penalty all season, way back on Oct. 24 versus Detroit, a slashing call. His one penalty is the fewest among NHL players who suited up for at least 41 games this season. He’s a previous winner having taken home the trophy in 2014 while a member of the Colorado Avalanche.