Alexander Radulov: Missing Piece to the Puzzle, or a Puzzling Decision?

Photo: Alexey Kudenko, Sputnik

Photo: Alexey Kudenko, Sputnik

Alexander Radulov’s signing has some fans of Les Habitants thinking “Semin 2.0…?” despite what appear to be promising career stats in recent years. Second in all-time scoring in the KHL, Radulov turns 30 this Tuesday. Bergevin appears to have faith in his scoring talents going forward, signing him to a one-year, $5.75 million contract on July 1st. Radulov holds KHL records for most points in a single season (80), career assists (281), and plus minus rating (+166). These stats may not directly transfer into equivalent performance on NHL ice, but they do have a promising ring to it. Still stinging from a Subban-for-Weber trade, Canadiens fans and critics are calling to attention Radulov’s history of immaturity and questionable character:

@ian_mendes (Twitter): “Trading Subban and signing Radulov is the equivalent of saying you want to cut down on carbs, then turning around and buying a bread maker.”

Bergevin’s sources vouch for Radulov’s character, referring to him as “true captain material,” and Radulov himself states that the birth of his son has resulted in immense maturation in subsequent years. A 22-year old’s mistakes are foolish in the eyes of any 30-year old, and Radulov’s own are no exception to him. In a conference call with Les Habitants’ media following his signing, Radulov reiterated that, “what happened in the past is in the past.” Further, he said, “I want to come back to play in the best league in the world. I can play fast and aggressive hockey. My goal is to help the team win. Whatever the coach tells me to do, I’ll do.” Stating that, in retrospect, there are many things he wishes he had done differently, and acknowledging past mistakes as what they are, speaks to me of maturity. This is a man who knows what he wants, and knows what he has to do to make it happen. Bergevin hired a goal-scorer, a leader, and a work-horse in Weber. Adding Radulov was no mistake, especially on a one-year term. This is Radulov’s last shot at NHL redemption. You know it, I know it, the team knows it, Bergevin knows it. Most importantly, Radulov knows it. Back-to-back KHL’s league MVP honours in 2010, 2011, and 2012, winner of the 2011 Gagarin cup; this man is an experienced leader and goal-scorer. I, for one, look forward to Galchenyuk and Radulov tearing it up.

“Add a top-six scorer” has been the battle-cry of the chronically dissatisfied Canadiens fan. Bergevin may have done just that if his gamble pans out. Calling it a gamble is almost an injustice to Radulov, considering his phenomenal stats in recent years and the minimum term to which he was signed. Call it character flaws, or call it immaturity, 8 years is a long time to iron things out. He had the dedication, skill, and will-power to persevere in exile over in the KHL, arguably the second best league in the world. He has an opportunity to prove himself on the NHL stage once more, and I, like many other Canadiens fans, am hoping he puts on a performance worthy of his $5.75 million price tag.

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6 Responses to Alexander Radulov: Missing Piece to the Puzzle, or a Puzzling Decision?

  1. Bravo! I have very critical of management, especially, over the past 7 monthes. My opinion of Therrien has only become more set. He’s a tyrant, unimaginative, intolerant, abusive, incompetent, and plays favourites without regard. The man must go, plain and simple!! This move by Bergevin is impressive. I’m still not sold on MB…..but I am very hopeful for my, if he can just act like a boss and rein that buffoon, Therrien in so that he doesn’t screw with Radulov as he did with Semin, Sekac, Tinordi, Pateryn, Subban, Andrighetto, Bournival, McCarron, Galchenyuk, and Eller……

    Bart Van Eyk July 3, 2016 at 6:17 pm Reply
    • Brian Wilde had a good word for Therrien, “Bully”.

      Michael Gomez July 3, 2016 at 8:14 pm Reply
  2. They will never win the cup with Therrien at the helm. Just hope he won’t be the coach when the next crop of prospects are ready for the NHL. Too late for Eller, Sekac, Tinordi, Smith-Pelly etc., etc. (just too many to list) but Hudon, McCarron, Lehkonen, Scherbak and Segachev would be better off staying in the minor or junior. Sadly, the IceCaps coach is probably just as bad.

    Edml July 4, 2016 at 10:51 pm Reply
    • In terms of deployment, usage, and so on, yeah Lefebvre down with the IceCaps is actually worse than Therrien. He has no idea what he is doing and has had capable rosters over the years to get in the playoffs and just hasn’t. Somewhat of a problem is that Bergevin has basically sent a signal downward to the farm that they don’t really care about winning which isn’t good. When you don’t care about winning, the kids get into bad habits and learn to lose.

      Cam Hunter July 5, 2016 at 7:24 am Reply
    • Cam….unfortunately, when a coach destroys a young player’s confidence, it can ruin him for the rest of his career. Fragile psyches? Yes, certainly. However, we know the effect that Therrien’s bullying gad on Eller….he gad to see a psychologist to get his head back on straight. So, yes, I would lay Sekac at Therrien’s feet. Therrien is destructive to the wellbeing and development of talented young players. Lefebvre is an inferior iteration of Therrien, if that’s even possible! Firing the lot is the only answer if they want to win the whole enchilada. But….Bergevin won’t do that. And Molson won’t step in.

      Bart Van Eyk July 5, 2016 at 7:49 am Reply
  3. At this point no one can pin Sekac on the Canadians organization. Lets please stop making affirmations that have no bearing. Sekac in Anaheim and Chicago did not work either. I always liked Eller but, But… Lets wait and see what he does in Washington. In all fairness Eller got 2 2nd round choices. Interestingly beasts in faceoffs when habs made experiments McCarron, De La Rose and Daneault. I think Eller was traded because we had other options. Eller I wish well and hope he does take the next step. For the Habs it was more because he was most comfortable at center and we may already have his replacements. Tinordi probably needed 2 more years in the minors. Pateryn got those years. If Someone tells me he was ahead of the guys we have now then they are not looking at the same games I am. Smith-Pelley cannot be used in same breath as Sekac other than to comment on the trade. Taking an asset that cost you nothing for Smith-Pelley was excellent. Trading him for an asset that did not look towards end of season leaves some debate but need more time.

    Just my two cents

    HockeyGuy123 July 5, 2016 at 5:41 am Reply

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