by PuckStopsHere on 07/02/12 at 05:20 PM ET
Today it was announced that Alexander Radulov signed a four years contract with CSKA Moscow of the KHL. This contract will pay him around $9.2 million per year. Presumably this means Radulov is returning to the NHL after a short return to the NHL. The NHL bent over backwards to bring a player of Radulov`s calibre back into the fold but it wasn`t enough.
Radulov walked out on the final year of a valid contract with the Nashville Predators in 2008 to play in the KHL. After the season ended in the KHL this year, Radulov was convinced to come back to the NHL.
There were problems with Radulov`s return. He should have had to clear re-entry waivers in order to return but the NHL changed their rules to prevent this. Radulov would not have cleared re-entry waivers had he been subject to them and thus Nashville would have had no interest in his return if they couldn`t have kept him.
Radulov was not interested in coming back to the NHL if he was to be paid significantly less to play there than in the KHL. This was the case in his entry level deal that had one year remaining. The nine games that remained in the regular season plus the playoffs would be counted as that year. Radulov would then be able to sign a new contract for more money.
Radulov clearly showed that he is a talented player upon his NHL return. With no time to acclimatize to the league he scored 7 points in 9 regular season games. He put up six more points in eight playoff games and tied for his team lead in playoff points. This is despite missing two games in the second round. He created controversy when he and Andrei Kostitsyn were suspended by the Predators for violating team rules. They had been out all night partying during the playoffs and it was seen to have affected their games. This seemed to show that Radulov wasn`t too interested in the NHL and was here to have a good time, play some hockey and get out of his contract.
Despite his good play, nobody was interested in keeping Radulov in the NHL. At least there was no interest in paying him on the level the KHL was willing to. Thus Radulov returns to Russia.
The NHL is left looking like a fool. They went out of their way to change their rules for Radulov and he still wasn`t interested. The NHL loses out on a talented player. He is a talented player who isn`t interested in being there, but talented nonetheless.
What happens if Radulov ever wants to return to the NHL? What happens when another highly talented KHLer wants to come to the NHL? The NHL looks like a fool in the Radulov affair. I think they are willing to try again in a similar manner for another similarly talented player when that time comes. This is a potential break in the current CBA. If talented KHL players can be enticed to play in the NHL, the NHL is willing to break their system to make sure that it happens.
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