There is no doubt that Alexander Radulov can get people out of their seats. His ability to score has been evident everywhere he has played.
The erstwhile Nashville Predators forward does not exactly have NHL general managers reaching for their telephones, though.
“If somebody approached me and wanted to trade for his rights, I’d be happy to do that,” Predators general manager David Poile said last week. “Nobody’s asked.”
According to reports, Radulov signed a four-year KHL contract last July, nearly two months after Phoenix eliminated Nashville from the NHL playoffs and ended his brief return to the organization that drafted him 15th overall in 2004. The decision cast uncertainty over whether he ever will play for any NHL team again.
The Predators, however, retained his rights because he has not played enough in the NHL to earn unrestricted free agency.
He originally signed to play in Russia’s top professional league in 2007, when he had one year remaining on his entry level deal with Nashville.
He finally satisfied that contract when he returned to the Predators last March. He had three goals and four assists in nine games at the end of the regular season and added six points (one goal, five assists) in eight playoff contests. He also was suspended for one game in the second-round playoff series with Phoenix because he missed a curfew and was benched for another.
“Since he’s last played here [the issue of a trade has] never come up,” Poile said. “Before that it came up.
“Nobody can do anything anyway. He can’t get out of his contract or he’s not going to get out of his contract. You never say never, but … .”
The deal with CSKA, which paid $8 million to acquire his KHL rights, reportedly was for approximately $2.3 million per season. CSKA also acquired Igor Radulov, Alexander’s older brother and a former NHL player in his own right.
Alexander Radulov was the KHL’s second-leading scorer in 2012-13 with 68 points (22 goals and a league-high 46 assists) in 48 games. It was the second-highest point total of his career.
Likewise, he has showcased his offensive ability at the World Championships, which continue this week in Sweden and Finland.
Radulov has five goals and five assists for 10 points, second on the team to NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk (eight goals, five assists) and one of only four players in the tournament with 10 points or more thus far. He has scored four of Russia’s six power-play goals and has logged more ice time (148:55) than any of his team’s other forwards.
His plus-7 rating is second on the team to Kovalchuk (plus-8).
Russia completed pool play Monday with an 8-4 victory over Austria. Radulov had a goal and an assist. His goal broke a 3-3 tie and was the first of three for his team in the second period.
Sergei Soin, another Russian whose rights the Predators have held for years, scored the last of those goals. Nashville acquired his rights in an offseason trade with Colorado in 2003 but he has played his entire professional career in Russia. It was Soin’s first goal in seven tournament contests.
The Russians have five wins and two regulation defeats, currently tied for first with the United States and one point ahead of France in the pool standings. The U.S. and France each have one game remaining Tuesday, though.