Forward Alexander Radulov has an opportunity to the KHL's version of Sidney Crosby. With Russia’s pro league struggling to keep elite young players from migrating to the NHL, Radulov can cash in big time by swimming against that current.
CSKA Moscow, run by former NHL star Sergei Fedorov, needs a young star to build around. Last season its “name” player was yesteryear NHL star Alexei Yashin, who scored just nine goals in 43 games at the age of 37.
Flighty Nikita Filatov, the sixth overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, scored just four goals in 18 games for CSKA after the Senators turned him loose. So far this skilled young scorer has lacked the drive to become an elite performer.
Radulov’s brief and unhappy return to the NHL burned his Nashville bridge forever. The Predators have no intention of offering the restricted free agent a new deal.
Nashville general manager David Poile would love to trade his rights for draft picks or prospects, but those rights would become worthless once Radulov finalizes a KHL deal.
The New York Post reports that the CSKA offer would make Radulov the world’s highest-paid hockey player in terms of take-home compensation. The New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings and Washington Capitals seem to have some interest in him, but NHL scouts generally see him as a mid-range scorer with intriguing upside.
He can’t expect to make top dollar in North America. He has the skill to become an impact NHL player but he appears to lack the inclination. So Radulov should take the money and run back home to Russia.
The KHL would love to get him back, curfew violations and all.