Alex Radulov Could Make NHL Return in 2016-17


Alex Radulov Could Be Eyeing NHL Return

Report: Alex Radulov is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2016. Per reports from Russia, Alex has apparently turned down contract extensions with his current KHL club, CSKA Moscow. The news came via Sportsnet on Friday after the report broke on their broadcast Thursday night. 

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"“I’m a free agent after this season,” Radulov told Igor Eronko of Sport-Express. “Let’s see.”"

"via Sportnet,Radulov, 29, has been a dominant force in Russia since leaving the Nashville Predators in 2011-12 and inking a four-year deal with Moscow for a reported $9.2 million annually.The winger has been good for a point per game in each of his four seasons with CSKA. This season Radulov — a two-time IIHF world champion with Russia — has 13 goals and a KHL-best 24 assists though 32 games. He sits second in league scoring behind Metallurg’s Sergei Mozyakin.In two short-lived NHL stints, Radulov scored 47 goals and notched 55 assists over 154 games.Speculation has pointed to the Colorado Avalanche as a landing spot for Radulov should he make another flight west.Patrick Roy coached Radulov in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In May, Radulov’s agent, Yuri Nikolaev, told Russian outlet Championat that Radulov had spoken with Roy about joining the Avs in 2016-17.Radulov departed the NHL under unpleasant circumstances. He and teammate Andrei Kostitsyn were memorably suspended during the Predators’ 2012 playoff run for violating curfew. Kostitsyn expressed an interest in returning to the NHL in the summer."

Radulov statistics via EliteProspects,

If the rumors are true that Alex Radulov is eyeing an NHL return, then it adds even more intrigue to next year’s class of free agents. While Radulov could certainly help a struggling Avalanche team in particular, teams must approach with caution.

Fans and experts know full-well the talent that Alex Radulov possesses, as we’ve seen with his short stints in Nashville. But there’s always been character concerns swirling around this particular Russian player. He was somewhat of a “pouty child” during his short NHL tenure, coming off as a very selfish-minded individual.

The blame cannot be entirely be placed on Alex Radulov’s shoulders, as the Predators organization laid a helping hand. Players and organizations don’t always get along, which creates tensions, usually leading to the departure of a player.

For example, we saw this with Ryan O’Reilly and the Colorado Avalanche, and somewhat briefly with Dougie Hamilton and the Boston Bruins. The Predators forced Alex Radulov into an uncomfortable corner, which in his mind left the KHL as his only refuge from the situation.

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Will Alex Radulov make a return to the NHL in 2016-17? If so, which teams do you think would emerge as top targets? Would a bigger offer from another franchise other than Colorado be enough to sway Radulov away from playing in Denver? Are you of the belief that signing Alex Radulov would be a critical mistake by an NHL franchise? Give us your comments below.