by Jamy Baron
Do you remember Nikolai Zherdev? I sure do. He had all the talent in the world, but was enigmatic and lazy if the puck wasn’t on his stick. Well, his name isn’t Nikolai Zherdev, but this player fits the same bill; Alexander Radulov.
According to the New York Post, Rangers General Manager, Glen Sather “has been in touch” with Nashville’s General Manager, David Poile, regarding the three time KHL MVP. From what we saw in the playoffs, Radulov was a very lazy backchecker and only seemed interested when the puck was on his stick. John Tortorella won’t tolerate that.
Radulov is an impending restricted free agent and has an offer on the table from CSKA of the KHL. If the Rangers traded for his rights, they’d have until July 1st to strike a deal with him. The question is not whether he’d sign or not, it’s whether or not Radulov would fit in with the Rangers.
The Rangers are full of hard working, blue collar players, but what they lack are players who can put the puck in the back of the net on a regular basis. Radulov would be a good fit on the second line, where he could work with Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider, creating an offensive threat of a second line. Radulov would practically be the only player on this Rangers team that would play somewhat lazily in his own end, but with 11 other forwards willing to pick up the work load, signing Radulov may not be such a bad idea.
The Rangers are set in goal with Henrik Lundqvist and have a solid defense corps, with Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh leading the way. What they don’t have is enough offensive punch. Radulov could help in that department and I am all for it. There is no question that Tortorella will ream him out and make him pay attention to detail on the defensive end more than he already does, so why not take a flyer on him?
It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out in the near future. Prepare yourselves for a bumpy off-season as Marian Gaborik‘s injury is set to push Sather the extra mile to make his team offensively ready for next season.