Alexander Radulov has decided to forego an NHL return and instead signs with the KHL’s Salavat Yulaev, says Sportsnet’s Elliote Friedman. The Russian winger made waves this spring by seeking to return to the NHL. A deal that met Radulov’s demands, however, never materialized. Whether or not Radulov had honest intentions of returning to the NHL—as opposed to using the NHL as a bargaining chip with KHL contract negotiations—isn’t apparent yet, and is subject to speculation.
Radulov was initially drafted by the Nashville Predators and played from 2006-2008. He managed to rack up 44G and 51A in 145 games in two seasons before bolting for the KHL’s Salavat Yulaev. His move to return to Russia was controversial because he still had one year remaining on his ELC. Radulov eventually played in the KHL until 2012, winning the KHL MVP three times. After Salavat’s season ended in 2012, Radulov made a brief return to the Predators for their playoff run. The winger, however, ran into trouble during that short stint when he was caught breaking curfew before a playoff game. The team suspended Radulov one game, and subsequently declined to extend Radulov’s contract.
After his brief stints in the NHL, Radulov once again returned to the KHL—this time signing with CSKA Moscow. Radulov thrived with his new KHL team and scored 76G and 160A in 181 games over four seasons.