EXCLUSIVE: Toronto Maple Leafs to sign Alexander Radulov later this month

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The dust has just barely settled on a very rare two-game winning streak for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but as it turns out, the team is already working on next year’s roster. Specifically, a deal is in place to send one of the sport’s greatest villains back to the National Hockey League.

The Scoop

While the Gagarin Cup playoffs are far from over, and his team is still battling for KHL supremecy, the Toronto Maple Leafs are hard at work finalizing a multi-year deal with CSKA Moscow forward Alexander Radulov. 

How The Heck?

As it turns out, the Leafs have been exploring a whole bunch of ways to work along side, if not take advantage of, the Kontinental Hockey League throughout the season. The original plan involved David Clarkson, and sending him to Leo Komarov’s former Dynamo Moscow on loan, in a situation similar to Cristobal Huet. In exchange, the Leafs would enter a marketing partnership deal with the team and the league, ensuring them increased exposure and revenue in North America.

After the trade to Columbus went down, however, these plans fell through. With that said, the efforts didn’t go without return. While ensuring that their original plan was as air-tight as possible, the Leafs did considerable research into the world’s second best league. This yielded a vast amount of information pertaining to everything from logistics to legitimate scouting.

From our source: “In this process, the Leafs found out that Radulov, who is now an unrestricted free agent at the NHL level, had interest in coming back on the condition that he would play in a major market. Radu is a self-proclaimed attention seeker and had a very short list of teams that he would consider going back for, and being a key member of the Leafs fit the description.”

Technically, Radulov’s contract expires at the end of next season, but the Leafs have supposedly paid a significant amount of money to make this move happen. Of course, this raises questions about the financial solvency of the KHL, but that’s not a topic for us to discuss.

What Now?

Well, the Leafs may have one of the world’s premier talents, as long as he decides that he cares about playing. Radulov finished this season atop the league’s leaderboard in points, managing to put up 24 goals and 47 assists in just 46 games. This is one of the single best performances in KHL history, putting him only nine points back of… himself, in 2010/11, where he had 80 points in an additional eight games.

As well, Radulov’s mean streak has lead to him being seen as one of the more aggressive players in the game. Whether it’s a questionable hit, an overly aggressive swing of the stick, or a stupid chirp at the referees, his antics were enough to rank him second in the KHL for penalty minutes. You obviously hope that he’s able to keep this passion at the NHL level, though at the same time, it would be preferred that he did it in a way that doesn’t make him a magnet to suspensions. 

A good example of what Radulov is capable of doing would be his run with the Predators in 2011/12. In seventeen regular season and playoff games, despite little chemistry with his teammates and playing for Nashville, he still managed thirteen points in seventeen games. Now, he probably would have done better if he didn’t decide to go drinking with Andrei Kostitsyn past curfew during the playoffs, but that’s nothing that the Leafs brass can’t fix.

Moving Forward

Now 28 years old, Radulov has matured into one of the world’s premier talents. It’ll be really interesting to see where exactly the Leafs go with such a marquee player. Do they let him loose? Are they extremely strict? Common sense indicates that he should be close to a point per game player, but he also plays on the same wing as Phil Kessel. Who gets the number one spot? Does someone have to change positions?

Our source suggests that this could get ugly. “Now that the Leafs have basically acquired an elite forward for free, this allows them to really start the bidding process on Kessel. Word is that they’re not happy with his attitude shown during the losing streak, and would prefer the antics of their new signing to the complacency of their current star forward.”

Jersey numbers will also be a fun fiasco, seeing as Leo Komarov currently wears Radulov’s typical 47. Komarov has worn 87 (Dynamo Moscow, Toronto Marlies) and 71 (Finnish National Team) in the past.

We do not yet know the terms of the contract, seeing as it hasn’t been signed yet. Radulov must finish his season with CSKA Moscow first; and with them being up 3-0 over SKA St. Petersburg in the Western Conference Finals, that official announcement may not come until later in April. 

At the end of the day, though, we feel safe in reporting that a long term deal has been agreed to, and despite all of the fiasco this will probably cause, you can’t help but be excited. The Leafs are set to acquire an all-world player that can contribute immediately, and have a lot more flexibility to move forward with. To disagree, you’d have to be an absolute fool.

  • TGT23

    Ugh..Thanks for the edit on my posts?

    Just saying, the date of the post is March 31st for this TML fan in Ontario.

    So are you one of the people who believes in April Fools in March? :]

    • TGT23

      No…

      The server this forum uses is on Central Time which is 2 hours behind EST. He posted this article at exactly midnight EST, April 1st. The server logs it as 10:00pm March 31st because that is the time it was when the article went up where the server is.

  • TGT23

    this just in leafs are looking to trade their first round pick in this years draft in exchange for Florida Panthers Forwards Shawn Thornton and Dave Bolland.

    Glenn Healey broke the news on twitter just a few moments ago.

  • Wait, so they don’t like Kessel’s attitude during the losing streak? Have they seen Radulov when his team isn’t competitive?? The guy is a nut job to begin with, but he also checks out faster than any player out there when things aren’t going right. When he came back and played with the Preds during that 17 game run and the playoffs, he was essentially shut down by the Wings, and spent most of the series sulking and giving maybe 50% effort. Million dollar talent, 10 cent brain.. And the circus continues in Toronto..

  • My son has played 8 seasons in the KHL. So he’s seen it all. Radulov is a beast and could easily play in the NHL. His GM in CSKA is Sergei Federov. This team is run better than most NHL teams.
    Why is Radulov coming back? Simple, the ruble has been devalued by about 45%. Yes he’s dominating the KHL but between the enormous travel and the fact Red Army carries 6 lines, Alex needs the challenge. His biggest challenge will be the poor losing culture of the Leafs. Red Army is built to win. They expect to win.

  • “You guys, I got this great idea! Like, what if I wrote a ridiculous article for April Fools! I don’t think this has been done before, right? This is a tremendous idea, and everyone will recognize my wit has no equal.”

    – Jeffler, probably… 😉

  • Alright, it’s noon! Time to get back to normal. Really fitting that we hit 47 comments at the “final buzzer”.

    Obviously, this was our 2015 April Fools Day prank. I like Radulov a lot, but he’s still got a year to go and there’s no incentive for his team to allow for a buyout. Not to mention, he’s probably the last guy you sign amid accusations of a character crisis.

    Special thanks to everybody who spread it, apologies to everyone who took the bait, and to those who kept commenting that it was an April Fools post, thanks for making my morning slightly harder, and sorry for editing all of your comments !

  • TheKert

    Just thought I’d help out with the above comment. Google Translate returns “PRICK you, not Radulov”.

    This story made it’s way to Sovsport dot ru and I guess that’s the first of potentially many angry Russians who may make their way over here today.

    I assume this is intended as “You prick, Not Radulov!” and comes from a fan of his current team. Hope he was able to figure out that is a joke and isn’t too stressed out right now hahaha.

  • TheKert

    On the talk about numbers above, Radulov or not, it would be hilarious if Komorov were to switch to 87. I bet a whole lot of people would be seriously pissed off what with 87 being pretty symbolically Sid’s number at this point, what with only 3 other players having ever worn it in the NHL and the most notable being Brashear.

    That said, I was surpirsed to see that one of those 3 was Caps rookie Liam O’Brien, who wore 87 for 20 games this season. I hadn’t been aware of just how rarely it was used in the past and seeing that, I’m pretty surprised that anyone new would actually choose that number at this point. No it’s not near the status of Gretzky’s 99 and league wide retirement but when the only other player in the league to wear the number is the current best player in the league, that seems like a ballsy choice.

    That, or a trolly choice, and I could totally see that from Komorov. This is the guy who ended up with a 40 foot (wild guess on my part, it’s several flights of stairs) tall image of himself painted in an opponent’s arena, because their fans hated him so much they wanted to walk on his face.

  • While I enjoy a good April fools joke, a sports website should not joke about exclusive content. TLN has never had exclusive content, you have no insiders (you still have good content, but its just a blog,i.e. no inside contacts). If a blog website wants to expand and try to gain access to exclusive content (this would be a major step and any sports outlet would die for this), pulling jokes like this is a step in the wrong direction. It immediately reduces credibility. A joke like this would be acceptable from, lets say, TSN.

    But that’s just my opinion, relax.