Alexander Radulov is an extremely talented hockey player.
This season he took his multiple KHL-MVP-earning talents back to Nashville to help contribute during their playoff push (and wipe his contract-slate clean in North America). And while he “led” the team in playoff scoring, he only put up a goal and five assists in eight games – not exactly insane stats.
Now, according to Dmitry Chesnokov of Yahoo Sports, he’s returning to the KHL.
He’s in a tough situation, because I’m sure he wants to prove himself in North America and make it work, but he’s badly wanted back in Russia. When his contract got traded to the storied Russian franchise of CSKA Moscow, odds that he would head back home increased dramatically.
Also a contributing factor: He has one year left on his current KHL deal, but his new team wants to extend him for 2-3 years, and would undoubtedly make him a very rich man. Apparently teams backed by oil money can do that sort of thing.
Still, you can’t help but feel like his general commitment to neither league is putting a damper on his legacy, if he’s even started to form one yet.
* He started his pro career on this side of the pond and showed crazy potential. Then he went back to chase the dollars.
* Then he tore up the KHL until his contract was up. Then he returned.
* Then he showed flashes of being a good-to-great NHL scorer (as the video evidence above shows)…before setting fire to the Predators playoff run with an off-ice distraction (can’t fault him entirely for the losses at the end, but he certainly didn’t help, playing hungover then getting suspended).
* Now, he’s headed back. Again.
And in a year when his contract up, maybe he returns. At this point, I’m like one of those people in a bad relationship who suddenly realizes “Y’know what, to hell with this. It’s not worth the effort.” Basically, I’m Predators’ GM David Poile.
And if he doesn’t come back, guess what – the NHL will survive. Let’s all tune back in to how he’s doing when his current contract is near its expiration date.