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Forum Admin

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Posted - 02/25/2010 :  14:59:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Alexander Radulov is one of the best players drafted in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, along with fellow countrymen Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin. Unfortunately for fantasy hockey owners, Radulov has been plying his trade in the KHL since he left the Nashville Predators in 2008 after playing two seasons in the NHL.

Radulov is one of the most often added and dropped players in all of fantasy hockey because of his skill and the thought of his potential return to the NHL. So, the question that almost every fantasy owner has is that in the title of this article: Will Radulov return to the NHL?

The answer to the question might lie more in the answer to the question of why he left in the first place. When Radulov left the Predators he was getting third-line minutes under the strict coaching of Barry Trotz, despite the fact he was emerging as an offensive force. Radulov saw only sparse time on the power-play where he recorded just 6 of his 58 points. The 52 points he scored at even-strength made him one of the most prolific scorers 5-on-5, 15th overall in the NHL. In fact, his point-per-game average in 2007-08 ranked him 9th in the entire league. all of this at the tender age of 21.

Did Radulov leave for more icetime? Perhaps. Of course, it could have been the money. Radulov was earning just under a million dollars per season with the Predators, and his contract with the KHL's Ufa Salavat Yulayev is rumoured to be paying him between 3-4 million tax-free.

Radulov cites his reason for leaving the NHL as being primarily his desire to play in Russia. He was negotiating a contract extension with the Predators when the offer from the KHL came around and he admits the amount of money was the breaking point in his decision.

At the same time, Radulov has cited the fact that if he returns to the NHL he will still only be 25 years old and points to other Russian-born players who decided to play longer in Russia when they could have played in the NHL. Radulov has noted in interviews that Washington Capitals star Alexander Semin was under contract with the NHL team but decided to stay in Russia for another season. Of course, Semin is now playing in North America without any problems.

Radulov has one year remaining on his KHL contract and one issue that may influence his decision to return to the NHL is that he still owes a year of service to the Nashville Predators. He may not want to return to play given the huge pay-cut he would be taking. Of course, the transition may be more palatable for Radulov if the Predators were to trade his rights, and certainly there would be no shortage of suitors.

For fantasy hockey owners, the question is clear that many wonder if Radulov makes for a good investment in keeper leagues. The answer to that is "yes", so much so in fact that it boggles my mind that he is even available in any keeper leagues that have any sort of depth for rostering prospects.

I would suggest that Radulov's potential for return is likely 50-50 at this point, but with his KHL contract expiring soon, we should expect to hear a lot more about the potential outcome next season. Many fantasy hockey owners regularly stash mid-level prospects who are at least two years away from making any sort of NHL impact, so why not keep a player who could have a significant impact in 2011-12?

Consider a scenario sometime next season where Radulov declares his intent to return to the NHL. Radulov's value would skyrocket as a young future NHL star and fantasy owners would either have a bonaifide top-line RW moving ahead or a very valuable trade chip.

So in conclusion, if you are in a keeper league with enough depth to stash prospects, Alexander Radulov should be on your roster.

Ray Irwin writes for, the most complete fantasy hockey advice website on the internet. Featuring player and prospect rankings and interviews, daily starting goalies, buy low/sell high, injury reports, goalie carousel, and lots more...come on over to and Get Educated!

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PickupHockey Veteran

1315 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2010 :  16:39:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Excellent article Admin.

Sadly, I don't see Radulov coming back to the NHL any time soon. He seems to be enjoying his time in Russia, playing with the KHL. He makes more money, tax-free and is at home.

I guess it's possible, but I figure if the guy is happy with being at home, the level of play, the cash, why go back to what he once left.

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Posted - 04/12/2010 :  04:30:43  Reply with Quote
Money and lack of playing time lead to his departure to the KHL.However Radulov played his junior career in North America with the Quebec Ramparts so i believe he will be back
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