As the new season approaches, teams are looking back to the past season to see where and how they can improve. The 2017-2018 regular season was going great for the Dallas Stars until the last month, where the Stars lost their balance and ultimately crashed, missing the playoffs once more – but we choose to look ahead and focus on the good things that the past season brought.
There was one particular line last season that made a big impact and will have all eyes on it this season: top line Benn-Seguin-Radulov, who also happen to be the top three scorers of the season. Having already covered Benn and Seguin, it’s time to talk about Alexander Radulov.
Get ready, it’s an interesting ride.
Alexander Radulov was drafted in 2004 by the Nashville Predators, 1st round, 15th pick, and began his professional career with the Preds’ AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals. His NHL debut came in October 21, 2006, against the Vancouver Canucks. After playing back and forth between the AHL and the NHL, on July 11, 2008, while still under contract with the Preds, Radulov signed a three-year deal with Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the KHL.
After some legal problems with the NHL and the IIHF over this and a suspension from Nashville without pay for the 2008-2009 season, Radulov made his way to the KHL. He went on to win the Continental Cup twice, his first Golden Stick Award as KHL regular season MVP (2009-2010), the Gagarin Cup in 2011, a second Golden Stick Award (2010-2011), AND a third one during his final year (2011-2012).
Radulov then went back to the NHL with the Preds, and following a suspension for breaking team curfew during the second round playoff series in 2012, the Preds announced they were not extending his contract, and thus Rads went back to the KHL for four years, this time with CSKA Moscow. He led the team to two consecutive Continental Cups.
On July 1, 2016, Radulov came back to the NHL signing as a free agent to a one-year contract with the Montreal Canadiens. Seventy-six games and 54 points later (18 goals, 36 assists), Radulov signed a five-year contract with the Dallas Stars on July 3, 2017.
And boy, are we happy to have him.
Radulov had his best season in the NHL so far with 72 points (27 goals, 45 assists), and a plus/minus of +4, having played in all 82 games. In addition to the magic that happens when you get Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov together, watching Radulov on the ice is quite entertaining; not only does he celebrate hard (like, seriously) but Rads won’t hesitate on getting physical if that’s what it takes to save the game and score some points (77 hits and 64 blocks, hello) – though that also cost him some penalty minutes, but hey! It’s all part of the fun.
PS. Roussel, gone but not forgotten.
Rads was one of the most active players on social media this offseason, sharing some of his activities on Instagram almost everyday.
He spent the summer in Russia, attending a couple of FIFA World Cup games with some great company (Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Alex Ovechkin), spending time with his son, and training with Malkin and Kovalchuk. That pretty much sums it up.
Fair to say he is ready for another season – which we hope will be the best of his career.
It took him a while to adjust to Dallas and the coaching style of Ken Hitchcock – which is completely understandable given the circumstances, but once he got the flow going he proved to be one of the best choices the Stars have made. It’s the Radulov era and we are oh so happy we get to live it.
We’ll see how Rads (and the rest) adapt to new coach Jim Montgomery but judging by what we know so far, we don’t have much to worry about. Montgomery has previously stated we will keep on seeing the 14-91-47 line together, but if he doesn’t like how it’s working, he will move one of the three to “create something different or new”.
It seems like Radulov has finally found his place in the NHL with the Stars, and we are excited to see how his second year in Dallas will go – but mostly we are looking forward to more rad celebrations (pun 100% intended).
Alexander Radulov goals are the best because they’re followed by Alexander Radulov celebrations. #GoStars pic.twitter.com/vEvGWqWidB
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) January 5, 2018
Photo: Sean Berry