Bet on Where Top Free-Agent Winger Alexander Radulov Signs

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 2:10 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jun. 28, 2017 2:10 PM UTC

Get ready for a ton of player movement in the NBA and NHL as free agency for both opens on July 1. Today, let’s look at a Bovada prop on where Montreal Canadiens winger Alexander Radulov ends up.

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Radulov Will Be In Demand

The top overall free agent on the market, which officially opens in the NHL at noon ET on Saturday, is probably defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who was traded last season from St. Louis to Washington. His market is not crystal clear at the moment, but the Caps can’t afford him.

The top scoring option on the market is likely Montreal Canadiens right winger Alexander Radulov. The Habs got him on a one-year deal last July worth $5.75 million. He hadn’t played in the NHL since 2011-12, when he had three goals and seven points in nine games with the Predators. Radulov left the league at the start of the 2012-13 season, choosing to play in his native Russia after being suspended by Nashville for violating curfew during the 2011-12 season.

Radulov was brilliant in the Russian KHL, the second-best league in the world, so the Canadiens rolled the dice on a boom or bust deal. It was boom. In 76 games, Radulov was second on the team with 54 points (18G, 36A) and was plus-10. He led the club with seven points (2G, 5A) in the Habs’ six playoff games as they were eliminated in the first round by the New York Rangers.

According to CapFriendly, the Canadiens currently have more than $21 million in salary-cap space available. Radulov reportedly is asking for at least a six-year deal this time at around $7 million per season. That would make him the Canadiens’ highest paid forward and second-highest paid player, with a cap hit higher than star goalie Carey Price.

The Canadiens simply won’t do that for a 31-year-old with past immaturity issues and are looking for something closer to two or three years. While it appears the Habs are flush with salary-cap space, they also want to re-sign key players Alexander Galchenyuk and Andrei Markov.

Bovada offers an NHL prop on where Radulov signs: Montreal is a -140 NHL betting favorite and any other team is even money. I’m not confident it will be the Canadiens because they might already have acquired Radulov’s replacement in trading for Tampa Bay winger Jonathan Drouin and then signing him to a six-year, $33 million extension. The 22-year-old Drouin had 53 points in 73 games with the Lightning this past season. The third overall pick from 2013 was a pending restricted free agent.

Plugged-in NHL reporter Pierre LeBrun tweeted this early this week: The Alex Radulov camp has heard from 10-11 teams so far. Not planning site visits at this point; still want to keep Montreal in the mix, too.” While Radulov can’t sign with another team before July 1, teams were allowed to talk to unrestricted free agents as of last Sunday.

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