According to multiple reports, right winger Alexander Radulov has priced himself out of an NHL contract. The KHL star always had the fall-back option of staying in Russia, but now that seems to have hit a speed bump, too.
Several outlets are reporting that Salavat Yulaev Ufa, the team Radulov originally left the Nashville Predators for, hasn't signed him either, despite that assertion from Sportsnet. Radulov's reported price tag for an NHL deal was two years at an annual value of $7.5 million (as per TSN's Darren Dreger). Detroit beat writer Ansar Khan wrote that the Red Wings were interested, but only for one year at $4-5 million.
Radulov still has the talent, there's no question there. He just led CSKA Moscow to the Gagarin Cup final, leading the team in scoring during the playoffs (they lost the title to Metallurg Magnitogorsk) and ranking second in the league in points during the regular season with 65 in 53 games.
But that offensive wizardry comes with a player who has rubbed his NHL employers the wrong way on several occasions. Not only did he bolt from Nashville before his entry-level contract was finished, but his return to the Predators was highlighted by a suspension in the playoffs due to a missed curfew.
The next week will be intriguing for Radulov, as NHL teams largely turn their attention to local free agents. Would he be willing to bring down his price tag? If not, would he be willing to bring down his price tag for a KHL team? Ufa didn't have the cash for his demands, apparently – maybe the new team in China will pony up.
After all, when it comes to Radulov, no story is too far-fetched.