He’s back. After four seasons away from the NHL Alexander Radulov has returned and we are all left to wait and see if this is the time he gets it right. That last time we saw Radulov was when he was a member of the Nashville Predators, where he has spent his on again off again NHL career. He was facing a team-mandated suspension for staying out to the late hours of the night at a strip club the night before a playoff game. That essentially ended his second stint in the NHL and many thought it was the end of his career in North America as he headed back home to play in Russia.
He’s back though and after a number of teams showed interest, Radulov has signed a one year $5.75 million contract with the Montreal Canadiens. Call me naïve but despite the off-ice issues that have plagued him in the past I’m optimistic that he gets it right this time. In Montreal, Radulov will be reunited with his former captain from his Nashville days, Shea Weber. Weber has long been an advocate for Radulov and has stated that it was never a character issue, but a maturity issue with Radulov. Well, if that’s the case Radulov has certainly done some maturing since we last saw him in the NHL. He’s 4 years older and perhaps most importantly is now a father. He says he’s living for his child now and wants to set an example for how his son should act when he is older. Radulov has acknowledged he messed up in the past and wants to be committed to hockey and committed to his team.
If what he says is true and he really has changed, Radulov will be successful. He’ll instantly be a part of Montreal’s top six and has proven that he is dominant in the KHL and big time scorer in the NHL. He has all the skill in the world to make this work and he always has. He was great on the ice for Nashville in his last stint. He’s a true top 6 player at this level. All the talent and physical tools are there; it’s up to Alexander now whether or not he wants his comeback to be a triumphant one and prove his critics wrong.