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
Alexander Radulov’s next landing spot has been up for debate since the Predators were ousted from the playoffs. Preds GM David Poile says he’s not coming back to Nashville, the Rangers reportedly have interest in him and the KHL is eager to bring him back to Russia. According to one Russian publication, that’s just what will happen.
Izvestia.ru has a report from Radulov’s Russian agent, Yuri Nikolayev, says his client will return to the KHL and play for CSKA Moscow. Yahoo! Sports’ Dmitry Chesnokov translated the Izvestia report and what Nikolayev has to say about what’s next for Radulov.
“Alexander no longer has thoughts, watching the sea, whether he should go to the NHL or play in the KHL,” Nikolaev told Izvestiya.
“We are negotiating with CSKA about a personal contract. However we are not in CSKA yet; there are matters we have to discuss with the club’s general managers.”
What’s making Radulov want to work things out with CSKA, according to his agent, is the threat of a lockout in the NHL this upcoming season. Oh, right. That whole thing.
As Chesnokov reports, Radulov still has a year left on his KHL deal but CSKA would likely demand a longer commitment than just the one season if/when he comes back to Russia.
The Nashville Predators don’t want Alexander Radulov. They’re willing to trade his rights and, according to The Tennessean, there are a couple of squads that made inquiries.
At the same time, CSKA Moscow has already traded for his KHL rights in the hopes of convincing him to return to Russia.
Predators GM David Poile is now warning his NHL counterparts that there’s a sense of urgency regarding Radulov. Time is running out for them to act if they want him.
“If these teams are interested, they’re going to have to move pretty fast,” Poile said. “I think if they don’t he will sign in the KHL.”
Radulov is gifted offesnively, but he’s not without his baggage. He was criticized for his lack of effort during the playoffs. On top of that, he missed curfew during the postseason, which led to the team sending him to the press box for two games. Shea Weber later said that the incident was a “distraction” and felt “a little bit betrayed.”
With all that in mind, it wouldn’t be shocking if teams decide to simply let Radulov return to the KHL rather than rolling the dice on him.
According to Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov, KHL powerhouse CSKA Moscow has acquired the negotiating rights of Alexander Radulov from his former KHL team, Salavat Yulaev.
The move doesn’t come as much of a surprise given CSKA has publicly stated — for weeks — that they intended to pursue the ex-Predator.
On June 4, a report surfaced from Sport-Express that CSKA was prepared to pay a league-record amount for Radulov’s services for the upcoming campaign (CSKA is also rumored to be interested in Washington Capitals sniper Alex Semin, also for big bucks.)
Here’s what the Edmonton Journal wrote earlier about the club’s recent financial windfall:
Now that Rosneft, one of Russia’s oil giants, has taken over full sponsorship of CSKA Moscow, it gave general manager Sergei Fedorov carte blanche to go after the best talent available.
The fun doesn’t stop there. Earlier this year, the KHL club inked Igor Radulov, the former Chicago Blackhawk…that also happens to be Alexander’s older brother.