When it hit the rumor mill yesterday that Alexander Radulov had asked for an eight-year contract, it seemed far fetched. In our article about it, we even threw that idea out the window as a negotiating tactic and something the Canadiens would obviously not do. As it turns out, Radulov denies it was even ever on the table. To John Lu of TSN today, Radulov spoke about the rumor and flatly denied every asking for eight years.
It’s not even close, what they [are] saying. I don’t even know how this…I just don’t want to even discuss that because it’s nothing I can really control. I was sick yesterday and I got a phone call from my agent: ’There’s something going on, some people talking.’ So I was like, ’who’s talking? No one knows nothing about it.’
Radulov goes on to say that he talked to Canadiens’ GM Marc Bergevin directly to tell him that was false, and “doesn’t make sense.” While the eight-year ask might not make sense, it has now been brought up in three different reports (including the always reputable Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, though perhaps that stemmed from his colleague’s report) that Radulov would be seeking at least six years, which does seem more plausible. In assessing any contract, eight always seemed like it was out of the question for a soon-to-be 31-year old who has been back on North American soil for less than a full season.
While Radulov asking for eight years was extreme, Pierre LeBrun of TSN touched on the negotiations in the latest edition of Insider Trading, saying that a five-year contract would be ultimately the middle ground the two sides needed. Still a big deal to agree to, the Montreal Canadiens could front load it to give themselves a little more flexibility down the road. With the team off to face the Ottawa Senators tomorrow—in a preview of next year’s outdoor NHL100 Classic—the Atlantic Division crown is the big story in Montreal at the moment. Saturday night is the biggest game of the year for the Canadiens, and any talk of a Radulov extension will have to wait.