It turns out Alexander Radulov might still be open to an NHL return after all.
After reports surfaced that CSKA was set to sign Radulov to a long-term deal, it appears the 29-year-old is having none of it. According to Sports-Express.ru’s Slava Malamud, Radulov has rejected the contract offer from CSKA and “is determined to become a free agent.” Whether that means Radulov will return to the NHL is to be seen, but it leaves the option open.
Radulov is currently second in scoring in the KHL with 13 goals and 37 points in 32 games, and has amassed 68 goals and 210 points in 160 games with CSKA over the past four seasons. If Radulov were to attempt an NHL return, he could very well find a landing spot. During the off-season, one reported landing spot was with the Colorado Avalanche where he would reunite with former QMJHL bench boss Patrick Roy.
In May, Radulov’s agent, Yuri Nikolaev, told champion.at that his client had been contacted by Roy during the off-season about a potential return to the NHL and joining the Avalanche.
“Who was his coach (in the QMJHL?)” Nikolaev told Champion.at. “Patrick Roy, who now coaches Colorado. So, Roy phoned (Radulov) and says that he is waiting for the next season. Yes, (Radulov) can leave after next season.”
Roy was Radulov’s coach during the 2005-06 QMJHL season, one in which Radulov picked apart junior hockey. In 62 games, he scored 61 goals and 152 points, then scored 21 goals and 55 points in 23 playoff games. At the Memorial Cup tournament, Radulov scored five goals and nine points and captured MVP honors. He was also crowned the QMJHL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year, as well as being named the CHL’s Player of the Year.
Radulov was named the KHL MVP in 2014-15 after racking up 24 goals and 71 points in 46 games. He also helped CSKA to the Eastern Conference final, where they were downed by eventual champion SKA St. Petersburg. In 16 playoff games, Radulov scored eight goals and 21 points.
If he were to return to the NHL, Radulov would be an unrestricted free agent. While he was previously under contract with the Nashville Predators, Radulov’s 17-game stint with the club in 2011-12 counted as the final season of his three-year, entry-level deal.