USATSI_10019275_154158418_lowresThe Dallas Stars have signed forward Alexander Radulov to a five-year deal worth a reported $31.25 million.

The 30-year-old Russian winger returned to the NHL in July of 2016 after four years in the KHL with CSKA Moscow. Radulov spent 76 games with the Montreal Canadiens and put up 54 points, adding seven points in six playoff games.

“Alexander is a dynamic playmaker with top-end speed and skill,” Dallas general manager Jim Nill said. “To add a forward of this stature to our lineup makes our top-six as deep and talented as any group in this league.”

Radulov was a first round selection of the Nashville Predators in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and his career in the league has always been somewhat contentious. He put up good numbers in two seasons with Nashville before he signed a deal with Salavat Yulaev Ufa in the KHL. The problem was that he had a year to go on his contract with the Predators.

The NHL, the Nashville organization and the IIHF all released statements supporting the fact that Radulov owned the Predators another season. The IIHF demanded that Ufa void the contract, but that didn’t happen. Radulov was suspended from international play for a while and the Predators suspended him from the 2008-2009 season without pay.

After putting up big numbers in Russia – including three Golden Stick Awards as the regular season MVP – the Predators announced that they had lifted the suspension. Radulov was set to return to the NHL and he put in nine regular season games with Nashville before the post-season.

To make matters more interesting, Radulov was suspended in the playoffs (along with Andrei Kostitsyn) and the Predators did not offer him a contract extension.

He subsequently returned to the KHL in July of 2012.

And in July of 2016, he returned to the NHL on a one-year deal with Montreal.

To say Radulov’s reputation has been somewhat volatile would be an understatement, as the NHL doesn’t typically take kindly to players who volley between leagues. But the Stars are willing to take any associated risk, especially after things worked out relatively well for the Habs last season.

Given the possibilities, is a five-year deal for Radulov a little naïve? Maybe.

But in all reality, this is a risk worth taking. Radulov fits the Stars’ game plan nicely and should give the speedy offence a boost.

It’s also worth noting that Montreal reportedly tabled an identical offer to Radulov, but the money made the difference. Taxes were part of the deal, with the forward able to earn more money in Texas than Quebec. Go figure.

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