Devils farmhand and one-time prospect Vladimir Zharkov is taking his talents back to Russia while former Calder winner Andrew Raycroft is doing things a little different.
Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice reports Zharkov is heading to the KHL after signing a two-year deal with CSKA Moscow. CSKA has been busy picking off NHL guys lately as they locked up Alexander Radulov to a four-year, $36.8 million deal yesterday. Zharkov was a hot prospect at one point in the Devils organization but got lost in the shuffle the last couple seasons.
Meanwhile, former Stars backup goalie Andrew Raycroft is off to play in Italy according to Matias Strozyk of Jatokaika in Finland. Strozyk says Raycroft signed with Milano Rossoblu in Italy’s Serie A, a squad hoping to eventually play in the KHL. Raycroft is the 2004 Calder Trophy winner who has fallen on hard times of late in the NHL losing his backup job in Dallas to Richard Bachman this past season.
The Nashville Predators won’t have Alexander Radulov to kick around anymore.
Slava Malamud of Russia’s Sport-Express reports Radulov has agreed to a four-year contract with CSKA Moscow of the KHL, thus ending his not-so glorious return to the NHL.
Malamud reports CSKA general manager and former NHL star Sergei Fedorov was instrumental in recruiting Radulov back to Russia, and that they have their sights set on Alexander Semin next.
Radulov’s brief return to Nashville was initially meant to help make the Predators serious Stanley Cup threats. Instead, Radulov — along with Andrei Kostitsyn — wound up getting busted for breaking curfew and suspended by the Predators for a game. That distraction, along with other poor play, saw the Predators get bounced out of the second round by the Coyotes.
Now Radulov goes down as the guy who did more to hinder a team’s Cup chances than helped. At least he’ll always have his performance in the first round against Detroit to look back fondly upon.
Update (10:04 a.m. ET): Yahoo! Sports’ Dmitry Chesnokov reports Radulov will make $9.2 million a year with CSKA. Safe to say he wasn’t going to make close to that in the NHL.
All week leading up to July 1, we’ll be profiling unrestricted free agents and speculating where they might end up.
Andrei Kostitsyn (RW)
2011-12 cap hit: $3.25 million
Kostitsyn has a lengthy history of up-and-downs and missed expectations. All the same, he might be best known as the other guy involved in the Alexander Radulov curfew controversy. They both come with baggage and it looks like neither of them will play for the Predators next season — but that’s where the similarities end.
Kostitsyn turned 27 in February and has only reached the 50-point mark once in his career. (He’s coming off a 36-point campaign.) Unlike Radulov, teams aren’t going to sign Kostitsyn with the hope that everything will finally click and he’ll serve as a primary contributor. At the most, they’ll be hoping he’ll fit in as a second liner who’s capable of providing some secondary scoring.
Kostitsyn will likely end up with a one- or two-year deal, a modest salary, and the opportunity to get back to the level that produced three 20-goal seasons in Montreal.
More UFA spotlights