There’s been a lot of speculation about Alexander Radulov coming to the NHL for the 2016-17 season. He declined an extension with his KHL team in early April, leading some to wonder if he was eyeing a return to North America. Then a few weeks later, Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov told a Russian media outlet that the Avs were waiting on Radulov and that he’d be a leader for the team.
Things took a turn earlier this week when the former Nashville Predators forward failed to report to the Russian National Team for the IIHF World Championships in Moscow. Now it seems that things are coming full circle for Radulov, as it is being reported that he has confirmed that he will be returning to NHL ice this season.
The 29-year-old has been connected to various teams already, including the aforementioned Avalanche, the Toronto Maple Leafs and even the Detroit Red Wings. While other organizations may be welcoming to Radulov, don’t expect the Predators to be among them.
Since 2008-09, the forward has played mostly all of his hockey in the KHL. He made a short-lived return to Nashville in 2011-12, where he scored three goals in nine regular season games before notching a single goal in eight playoff games. After the postseason ended, Radulov bolted for CSKA Moscow, where he has spent the lost four seasons.
In 2015-16, he found the back of the net 23 times in 53 games while adding an additional 42 assists. On this side of the pond, Radulov has skated in 154 NHL games, scoring 47 goals, 55 assists and 74 PIMs. He was originally drafted by the Predators with the 15th-overall selection at the 2004 draft.
This summer’s free agency class will only have a handful of marquee players, but will be full of mid-range forwards who could help shore up a team’s scoring. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of interest–and later, term and money–the 6’1″, 200-pound Radulov will receive in free agency. His track record in Nashville was rocky at best, which is why his connection to Colorado through head coach Patrick Roy seems to make sense.