We knew that Marc Bergevin was going to do something unexpected today, and sure enough, he went and signed Alexander Radulov out of the KHL. Of course, Radulov was once a very productive NHL player, but decided to head home and play in his native Russia.
In the KHL, he has been a point-per-game player or better in almost every single season he has played. He has skill to spare. Just check out this highlight package of him playing back in his home country.
He is a fantastic playmaker with a touch of sniper in him as well. Offensively, he is a complete threat, and the exact type of player that the Canadiens needed to add up front. The only question is whether he can still contribute in the NHL after being away for so long.
Taking a look at his numbers in the NHL, you have to like the potential. Firstly, I must mention that I was only able to get data since 2007, which for Radulov amounts to a 90-game sample from 2007 to 2012. The numbers are still quite good.
Image Credit: Corsica Hockey
Over those 90 games, he scored 65 points. 53 of those were primary. He was a positive possession player, clocking in at 51.64% Corsi For at even strength. He was mostly deployed in an offensive role, but that is what he does best. If he's not scoring, he is creating goals for his teammates.
He was not a defensive juggernaut, but he isn't a liability, and that isn't his game anyways. He brings goals. Possession wise, he is great, so he brings the offense without causing any problems in other regards. Simply put, this is a very solid signing for the Canadiens.
During his time in the NHL, he was above league average in basically every metric. Obviously he has been away for some time, but he was extremely good in the KHL, and chances are he can still bring the type of game that he did before going back to Russia.
And they got him at a very reasonable price, $5.75 million for the single season barring an extension.
one year, $5.75 million for Radulov in Montreal— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) July 1, 2016
Another big thing to note with him is that he is able to play both wings. Montreal had a desperate need to pick up another winger today, and to snag someone capable of skating on either side of centre is a huge coup.
Where he slots in is an interesting conversation. He could easily play up with Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk, allowing Brendan Gallagher to step down to the second line. Conversely, you could use him on either wing with Plekanec and another forward, giving the latter a very legitimate winger to play with.
The possibilities are tantalizing. They have added a very versatile forward that definitely makes the Canadiens' top-six a whole lot more dangerous.
There is, however, concern over a potential attitude problem. Few will forget his departure to the KHL, and the circumstances surrounding it. For now, I won't discuss the potential issues, because the fact that he signed at all suggests that he wants to be here.
@MarcPDumont As a CSKA Moscow(Radu's former team) fan, I can assure that there are no scandals outside the rink with him last couple years— Alexey Agapov (@ultras104) July 1, 2016
With the bad news that we've had in the last few days, this signing is a ray of sunshine. Good deal for the Habs.