9:46am: Montreal will reportedly sign Russian superstar Alexander Radulov, as first reported by TSN’s Travis Yost. The signing has not been confirmed by the team, and the terms of the deal have not been disclosed thus far.
Radulov has spent the majority of his career overseas, playing in his native Russia, home to the KHL. However, he was drafted into the NHL, going 15th overall to the Nashville Predators in 2004. In his first two years in the NHL, Radulov totaled 95 points in 145 games over the course of the ’06-’07 and ’07-’08 seasons. Despite having success at a young age in the NHL, the talented winger returned home to Russia following his second season. Radulov made a brief return to Nashville towards the tail end of the ’11-’12 season, scoring seven points in nine regular season games and six more points in eight playoff games, as the fourth-seeded Predators beat the Detroit Red Wings, but fell to the Phoenix Coyotes in the second round. Despite intrigue from around the league, Radulov again returned to KHL following the 2012 playoffs.
Often considered the best player not in the NHL, Radulov now makes his return to the world’s premiere hockey league and, for the first time, not as a member of the Nashville Predators. Despite early reports that NHL teams were balking at Redulov’s contract demands, the exit of Steven Stamkos from the free agent pool may have changed the perception. Early indications were that the Detroit Red Wings were considered the front-runners for Radulov’s talents, but Yost now reports that it is the Montreal Canadiens who have swooped in and signed the 29-year-old power forward . Radulov offers a high ceiling and a low floor, but his offensive talents are greatly needed in Montreal, making the signing worth the risk. Radulov will also join former Nashville teammate Shea Weber, who was just recently dealt to the Habs in exchange for P.K. Subban.