Acting with deliberate speed in the wake of the news 41-goal scorer Marian Gaborik will require right shoulder surgery that could sideline the sniper into December of next season, Rangers general manager Glen Sather has been in touch with Predators GM David Poile regarding impending Group II free agent winger Alexander Radulov, The Post has learned.
Radulov, who will turn 26 next month, has a lucrative contract offer on the table from CKSA of the KHL, the league in which he played the last four seasons before returning to the Predators for the stretch run and the playoffs, but a well-placed source has told The Post the winger would prefer to continue his career in the NHL.
The degree to which these discussions between Sather and Poile have advanced is unknown, but The Post has learned this is more than the GM “kicking the tires.” The Blueshirts, of course, would have to be given a window in which to conduct contract negotiations with Radulov before agreeing to trade for his rights.
This is an interesting situation to say the least for the Broadway Blueshirts. The Rangers are expected to pursue big names like Zach Parise, but would Radulov be a fit here?
Larry Brooks goes on to address that in his report.
Radulov, a creative talent who is strong on the puck and difficult to knock off it, may not fit the cookie-cutter perception of a Black-and-Blueshirt forward, but coach John Tortorella said last Monday, “You have to be really careful about ruling people out; you don’t want to box yourself in.”
Radulov would certainly be a different player and that could be a good thing. The Rangers need more offense-first players who are creative. Radulov would be taught to play defense, but his offensive abilities would be an asset.
Radulov's curfew escapades were well documented as well as his down play during the playoffs. However, John Tortorella is a coach who could be the right motivator for Radulov. Tortorella demands solid play from his players and could put Radulov in a situation to succeed. He would be on a tight leash and that would not be a bad thing in order to get the most out of Radulov.
The Rangers are a franchise that have always given Russian players a chance, starting with defectors like Alexei Kovalev and Sergei Zubov. They have had success and failures, but in this scenario Radulov might be worth the risk.
The cost to acquire his rights would be minimal because he won't return to Nashville. He is a former top draft pick and has an inherent skill set and size that the Rangers lack. The most important aspect about acquiring Radulov would be that he would feel welcome and needed in New York.
When Radulov returned to the NHL, he had to fulfill his ELC contract with the Predators. It is likely that the entire team was not receptive to a returning Radulov based on how he bolted to the KHL years earlier.
In this situation, the Rangers would be trading for a talented player, and they would be giving up an asset to bring him in so he would feel like an important member of the team. You can cite Radulov's extracurricular activities as a reason not to acquire him but if the Rangers were to bring him in, Tortorella would have a handle on him.
Radulov isn't going to command a high cap hit and if he disrupts what is going on, the Rangers could send him to the minors.
In this situation, the fans should trust Glen Sather because he has a history with nurturing players and looking out for their well being. As coach of the Edmonton Oilers, he put himself out to the players as a life line if they were ever in a dire situation.
Players deserve second chances, and Radulov could be a nice fit for the Rangers. Although the Rangers are already pursuing him, is it a move they should make or should they stay far away from Alex Radulov?