Alexander Radulov, the former Nashville Predator and current captain of the KHL's CSKA Moscow, could be on his way back to the NHL in time for the 2016-17 season.
According to a report from Russian website Champion.at, Radulov's agent, Yuri Nikolaev, said that not only would Radulov be eligible to return to the NHL in 2016-17 but that he has already been contacted by Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy regarding the possibility of coming back to North America.
"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."
That is, indeed, the connection for Radulov and Roy, as he coached the Russian winger during his tenure in the QMJHL with the Quebec Remparts. Roy was the bench boss during Radulov's final season in the QMJHL in 2005-06, an unbelievable year in which Radulov racked up 61 goals and 152 points in 62 regular season games and added another 21 goals and 55 points in 23 playoff contests. The Remparts went on to win the Memorial Cup that season, with Radulov being named the tournament MVP.
Under Roy in 2005-06, Radulov captured almost every piece of hardware conceivable. He was named the QMJHL's MVP, Offensive Player of the Year and won the scoring title. As for the CHL, Radulov was 2005-06's Player of the Year, top scorer and was named to the first all-star team.
If Radulov returned to the NHL, this wouldn't be the first time he has left one league for the other. Matter of fact, this would mark the fourth time he has gone between the NHL and KHL.
Radulov was one of the first players to leave the NHL for the KHL and one of the only ones to date who has done so while still under contract with his previous team. Unlike Ilya Kovalchuk, who voluntarily retired in order to get out of his contract in New Jersey, Radulov simply signed a deal with Salavat Yulaev Ufa in July 2008 after he had completed only the second year of his three-year, entry-level deal with the Nashville Predators.
The entire ordeal got messy for both sides, resulting in Radulov's suspension from international play from the IIHF, a ban that was lifted shortly thereafter, and a suspension without pay by the Nashville Predators. Radulov did, however, return to the NHL at the tail end of the 2011-12 season to play out the final year of his deal. In total, Radulov suited up for 17 games -- nine in the regular season and eight playoff contests -- scoring four goals and 13 points.
This past season, Radulov scored 24 goals and 71 points in 46 games for CSKA Moscow and was named the league MVP. He added another eight goals and 21 points in 16 post-season games.
With his four-year deal in CSKA set to expire at the culmination of the 2015-16 season and with the KHL in turmoil due to the standing of the Russian ruble, it appears the door is open for Radulov to make his return.