The Nashville Predators can finally move on and say good riddance to Alexander Radulov and his selfish ways, as the right winger has signed with CSKA of the Russian Kontinental Hockey League on Monday, ending his tumultuous time on and off in Nashville and the National Hockey League.
Talented, yes, but Radulov proved that he never really wanted to play in Nashville, or in the NHL at all, for that matter. He came over to the Preds to start the 1006-2007 NHL season and put up very solid numbers, especially for a 20-year-old. In 64 games in his rookie season, Radulov scored 18 goals and recorded 19 assists on his way to also scoring 4 game winning goals.
Radulov followed up with even better numbers during the next season, appearing in 81 games and registering 26 goals to go along with 32 assists. It appeared as if the Predators and Radulov were building something for the future in Nashville.
And then, Radulov bolted back to Russia for a four year run in the KHL that was unsanctioned by the team and the league. Radulov left Nashville after the 2008 season with a year still remaining on his contract, and signed a three year deal with Salavat Yulayev Ufa. He was suspended indefinitely just prior to the 2008 season by Nashville, but finally returned to the team when this past season’s playoffs began.
Radulov came back to play in the final 9 regular season games for the Preds, scoring 3 goals and 4 assists, giving Nashville some hopes that he could help get them deep into the playoffs. After helping Nashville eliminate the Detroit Red Wings in five games, Radulov was back in the news for the wrong reasons.
The Predators suspended Radulov and teammate Andrei Kostitsyn before Game 2 of their series with the Phoenix Coyotes for violating curfew. Both sat again for Game 4, and after the Predators were eliminated following their Game 5 loss, Radulov became a restricted free agent, finally fulfilling his contract in Nashville.
He will now return to the KHL where he is a two time league MVP and is the all-time leading goal scorer. He may be loaded with talent, but something tells me that the Predators will be better off without him disrupting what they are trying to build in Nashville.