by PuckStopsHere on 10/29/12 at 05:06 PM ET
I took a first look at the KHL scoring race about two weeks ago. At that time Dmitry Makarov of Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod was the leading scorer. I noted that he did not have a record of scoring at such a high rate and would likely soon drop-off of the scoring lead. He has done that. He is currently the fourth highest scorer in the KHL with 24 points.
One point behind him was Alexander Radulov of CSKA Moscow. As the man most often chosen as the best player outside the NHL, he appeared quite likely to take over the scoring race and he has. Radulov has 28 points and is first in KHL scoring right now. He has led the KHL in scoring in the past.
Likely the biggest rivals for Radulov are NHL players in the league. Because the KHL season began before the NHL announced its lockout, NHL players have fewer games played than the KHL regulars. Nevertheless two NHL stars are closing fast on Radulov. Evgeni Malkin has been playing with Metallurg Magnitogorsk. In five fewer games than Radulov he has four few points and sits third in the scoring race. Ilya Kovalchuk has been playing with SKA Saint Petersburg. He has seven fewer games than Radulov and five fewer points. He is sixth overall in the scoring race.
Should the NHL lockout continue until the conclusion of the KHL season it is very likely that Radulov will be overtaken in scoring by these NHL stars. Should they depart from the league soon to play in the NHL, there is a good chance that Radulov holds on to the league point lead.
Of course there are other players in the race. The most significant so far has been Sergei Mozyakin of Metallurg Magnitogorsk. He missed a couple games earlier in the year due to injury but sits second in league scoring with 25 points. He has three fewer points than Radulov. He is a former KHL top scorer as well - before Radulov left the NHL. It is quite reasonable to expect he could put up a top challenge for the KHL's scoring race.
This is an interesting year in the KHL. There are several big name NHL players who are making a run at the scoring title. Thus far they have been held off by existing KHL stars. The KHL stars have an advantage because the NHL players were not available for the first few games of the year. How long will they be able to hold them off? Will the NHLers take over the lead in the scoring race soon? How will this all change if an NHL season is saved?
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