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The Puck Stops Here

The NHL Loses This Signing

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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Keyser S.'s avatar

Did partying all night really affect there games?

So how should have the nhl dealt with trying to get him to stay in the nhl?

I’m still confused how the nhl looked like a fool after the radulov affair.

If radulov is getting 9.2 a year, what would ovy or malkin get?

Posted by Keyser S. on 07/02/12 at 04:35 PM ET


Sure, the NHL would like to keep him, but what can the NHL do to make him accept less than 9.2mil a year? I don’t think you make such a strong case.

You look like a fool if you make a bad decision but should have known better. The only thing the NHL did is bring him back at the end of the season - I fail to see how accepting a huge amount of money to play at home makes that decision look bad.

Posted by Jean on 07/02/12 at 05:03 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

How did they lose by the KHL signing a TURD?

Posted by Evilpens on 07/02/12 at 05:54 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

You look like a fool if you make a bad decision but should have known better.

Bending over backwards and changing your rules to bring back Radulov is a bad decision when you should have known he was going back to Russia as soon as the season ended.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 07/02/12 at 06:48 PM ET


I don’t think the NHL looks like a fool. I think the KHL looks like a fool paying Alex Radulov more than Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin make when he’s not close to being in a league with those guys in terms of talent and results. Makes them seem desperate to me.

Posted by larry from pitt on 07/02/12 at 07:00 PM ET


Makes them seem desperate to me.

That’s because they are desperate.

Why does a hockey player sign with a given team? He likes

the money/term
the location
the team’s status (contender, rebuild, etc)
the players on the team

I’m sure there are other reasons. Anyway, the NHL has the added advantage of being the top league with the best competition. Based on pride, Radulov should play in the NHL, since he’s a top player. A KHL team can swing the pendulum the other way by manipulating the factor that is easiest to change—money.

Posted by Ralph on 07/02/12 at 07:47 PM ET


He didn’t want to play here.  Nashville ruined their chemistry bringing him back.  let him stay there.  Bush league compared to NHL.  Substandard everything from planes to arenas.

Posted by 13 user names on 07/02/12 at 09:02 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

It seems you are simultaneously arguing that Radulov likes the KHL better and that the KHL is a worse place to be.

Sounds like sour grapes to me.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 07/02/12 at 11:20 PM ET

Faux Rumors's avatar

1)  No way can the NHL compete with the KHL with regard to money for top line talent. Not only is Radulov getting 9.2 million but its TAX FREE, or equivalent to 13 million.
2) This is why so few Russians are drafted anymore.  The lure to stay home is now very significant.  Those who decide to play here are the ones who are motivated to play against/in the best league in the world. 
3) While Radulov certainly has NHL level talent, his shananigans both with regard to his contractual issues and breaking curfew show he isn’t a ‘team guy’ anyway, so I say Good riddence!

Posted by Faux Rumors from Globally- Here, there, Everywhere on 07/03/12 at 09:23 AM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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