Russian star Alexander Radulov will return to the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Detroit Red Wings are one of the few teams Radulov is interested in joining, according to Igor Eronko of Sport-Express.
The 6-foot-1 left-handed shooter was drafted 15th overall in the 2004 NHL Draft by the Nashville Predators. Radulov scored his first NHL goal against the San Jose Sharks on October 26, 2006. He made his debut five days prior to scoring his first goal.
Radulov left the Predators in 2012 due to the fact that he was an unrestricted free agent. With teammate Adrei Kostitsyn, Radulov was suspended one game in the second-round of the playoffs due to violation of team rules. The two players were seen at a bar at 5:00 AM the night before Game 2 of the second-round in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Predators general manager David Poile said of the incident, "What they did was unacceptable and the coaches and myself had to come to the plate and do the right thing for the team. It happened. It's really unfortunate. It's selfish behavior and we'll just have to leave it at that."
Poile said the team would not re-sign the forward, but would trade his rights to a different NHL team. All in all, the team did not extend Radulov's contract and made him an unrestricted free agent.
"The best way to characterize it is it's time to not pursue Rad anymore," Poile said. "If he wants to play in the KHL that's fine, if he wants to play with another NHL team I'd be willing to trade his rights.
"We feel the fit right now is not with Nashville," Poile added.
After the playoffs, Radulov signed a four-year deal worth $36.8 million with CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). Across the past four seasons in the KHL, Radulov has scored 78 goals and tallied 160 assists. In the last two seasons, he has logged 47 goals and 89 assists.
CSKA Moscow is managed by former Red Wings star Sergei Fedorov, so talks between Radulov and the Red Wings should go smoothly. Pavel Datsyuk, a top player for Detroit, is expected to step away from the NHL next season to return to Russia. The Red Wings lose $7.5 million if Datsyuk leaves, so the team could struggle to sign Radulov.
Besides the Red Wings, the Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers, Vancouver Canukcs, New Jeresey Devils, Anaheim Ducks and Washington Capitals are among teams that could make a run at the Russian star.