Russian superstar Alexander Radulov told the Russian paper Business Gazeta that he’s considering a return to the NHL next offseason, when he’ll become an unrestricted free agent, first noted in English by KHL scribe Igor Eronko.
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) July 6, 2015
Radulov has bounced between the NHL and KHL a couple of times, exiting the NHL in the 2008-09 season, then returning for a short stint with the Nashville Predators in the 2011-12 season where he was famously benched for violating curfew during the playoffs with fellow Russian Andrei Kostitsyn.
According to a translation at The Hockey News, Radulov told Business Gazeta:
“You see, I’m not so young,” Radulov told the paper, according to a rough translation. “(I’m) not 20 years old, and it is possible that I will have the last chance to compete for the Stanley Cup. If it is a great option in a team that will fight for the title, then why not? But now, perhaps, too early to tell. Believe me, I choose what’s best for me and my family.”
If asked if there’s also the possibility of re-signing with CSKA Moscow, where Radulov has played his past three years, Radulov added he could, but it will be nice to have options for the first time in his career.
“I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to be free, with no obligations to some club, to determine their own fate himself,” Radulov said. “So probably I wait it, but now I can not guarantee anything.”
While his time in the NHL had no shortage of controversy, he’s had a remarkable career in the NHL, scoring 47 goals and 55 assists through 154 career games, including seven points in nine regular season games and six points in eight playoff games in the 2011-12 season.
Since that season with the Predators, he’s played three seasons for CSKA Moscow, scoring 55 goals and 118 assists over 128 games.
No matter what you think of him, he’s had quite a career overall with a U18 gold medal, a bronze at the World Juniors, a Memorial Cup Championship accompanied by Memorial Cup All-Star nod and CHL Player of the Year award, a Gagarin Cup Championship, two gold medals and a bronze at the World Championships, seven KHL All-Star honors, and four KHL MVP awards. Given the chance to take a free agency deal on a Stanley Cup contender, you can see why it’d appeal to Radulov, who will turn 30 shortly after free agency opens next summer. Only a Stanley Cup and an Olympic gold are really missing from that impressive resume.
A KHL exit from Radulov might be a blow to the league, who lost a handful of Russian players this summer including Sergei Plotnikov, Artemy Panarin, Viktor Tikhonov, Sergey Kalinin, Kirill Petrov and Evgeni Medvedev, as well as American Steve Moses, who played in the KHL last season. There was also word that Andrei Kostitsyn is seeking a NHL contract this summer. Should Kostitsyn and Radulov make an exit as well, the KHL will have lost lots of talent to the NHL over the last couple of years.
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