Is Alex Radulov worth $7.5 million per season?

Russia's Alexander Radulov celebrates a goal by teammate Ilya Kovalchuk, not seen, against Norway during the second period of their men's qualification round ice hockey game at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, February 18, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (RUSSIA - Tags: OLYMPICS SPORT ICE HOCKEY) (REUTERS)

What do Jason Spezza, Henrik Zetterberg and Anze Kopitar have in common?

They all made in the neighborhood of $7.5 million in salary this season in the NHL. In fact, only 19 forwards in the NHL this season made $7.5 million or more in base salary. So joining that group would mean you’re a pretty elite player.

Which, if you ask Alex Radulov, he would undoubtedly tell you he is.

Radulov, who turns 30 in July, is expected to rejoin the NHL next season after spending four seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League, as one of its best players.

The Detroit Red Wings had already made an overture to him, according to

The Red Wings are sold on his talent but were concerned about his off-ice demeanor. They believe signing him to a one-year deal, likely in the $4 million to $5 million range, would limit their risk, a source said. Radulov might be more motivated to prove himself and earn a longer contract and the Red Wings could part with him after one season if the move backfires.

TSN’s Darren Dreger backed that claim in his Insider Trading segment on Friday, before adding additional details:

“A number of teams are interested in Alex Radulov no question about that, including Detroit. The belief is the Red Wings are comfortable at a one-year deal at around $4 million, but a couple of sources have indicated he wants two years at $7.5 million per [season].”

Predictably, Radulov is getting crushed for this demand, seeing as how he’s been playing overseas and has a history of, shall we say, challenging behavior for NHL teams.

That risk alone makes a $7.5 million salary idiotic, but honestly, who deserves more ire: The player asking for it, or the desperate general manager that would hand it over? Offensive potential makes executives do wacky things sometimes.


Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.