Leafs Talking With Nikita Zaitsev… And Alexander Radulov!?

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You’ve got to be kidding me.

We already knew about the Leafs interest in CSKA Moscow defenceman Nikita Zaitsev, what with him visiting Toronto and touring the Leafs’ facilities and pretty much agreeing to a handshake deal that would see him in a blue and white uniform next season. But hey… this is new.

According to AllHockey.ru, members of the Leafs’ front office are currently in Moscow talking contract with Zaitsev and former NHLer Alexander Radulov. Remember him? The former Nashville first-rounder that looked like a star-in-the-making before bolting back to Russia for all those rubles? And then came back to the Predators for like, a handful games and a short playoff run, and the bolted again? Yeah. That guy.

More past the jump…

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Here’s a rough translation from AllHockey.ru

The leaders CSKA Moscow forward Alexander Radulov and defenseman Nikita Zaitsev at the end of this season and left the capital club will move to the club of NHL “Toronto Maple Leafs”.
According  AllHockey.Ru , over the past few days in Moscow are the representatives of the Canadian Club, are engaged in a discussion of the details of contracts with hockey players.

Radulov scored 23 goals and 65 points in 53 games for CSKA this year. He’ll turn 30 this summer, so I imagine he still has a lot of hockey left in him. That said, I’m not sure why Toronto would want Radulov (are they ‘going for it’?) or even why Radulov would want Toronto (he knows they’re rebuilding, right?). 

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I don’t know what exactly is going on here, and in all likelihood it’s bogus. Do I believe that Toronto kicked tires? Well, I believe that this front office is smart enough to kick literally every tire it comes across. That said, I’m not putting much faith in Radulov becoming a Toronto Maple Leaf next season.

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  • He is 6’1, 200 pounds, and posts astronomical scoring and plus-minus, year after year, and all the nattering nabobs of negativity can think of is missing curfew once half a decade ago. any girly-man who never did that in his youth, doesn’t have any ‘character’!
    My reading between the lines, is that he was assured that Stamkos was coming.
    JVR Stamkos Radulov
    Michalek Kadri Komarov
    Laine Nylander Hyman
    Marner Bozak Soshnikov

  • magesticRAGE

    I hope this is just a reporter who’s just trying to get some attention. With his history of homesickness, his age, and the contract he’d want; I’d say there’s a 5% chance this is true. He’s almost too big of a risk to flip for.

    Just can’t see it.

  • SEER

    I agree Justin… It’s most likely bogus… They aren’t going to make any outside big deals, until this Draft is over with.. Everything is speculation, by the Media..


    A new 2014 NHL Draft Prospect Montage…

    Pascal already has two goals, in the Victoriaville Tigres first two, QMJHL 2016 Playoff games.. Considering all the conditions Pascal lived through with his family’s health this season.. and still putting up a PPG+ average.., he deserves a closer look at.., imo…

    I think that this kid has more potential than most might see right away, if just looking at stats.. He has a great mind for reading plays, too.. Might be a dark horse, in this Draft, though… Good for the Leafs to think about, with a later pick..

    Pascal Laberge/ Center/ shoots R/
    Born Apr 9 1998/ Chateauguay, PQ/
    17 yrs. ago/
    Height 6.01/ Weight 173

    RECENT STATS: (*Up to March 27th 2016)

    2014-15 Victoriaville Tigres – QMJHL
    31 Games… 6 Goals… 15 Assists… 21 Points… -3
    2015-16 Victoriaville Tigres – QMJHL – (#9)
    56 Games… 23 Goals… 45 Assists… 68 Points… -3 *PPG+
    2016 PLAYOFFS
    2 Games… 2 Goals… 0 Assists… 2 Points… -1

    Ice Truckin’: Pascal Laberge 2015-16 Highlights – 2016 NHL Draft Prospect

    —> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR3QyP0J4NE

  • MikeFleury

    This is my rationalization for the thought process behind Radulov…

    In order to take pressure off the kids you need to have them insulated by veterans. Players who can take some of the pressure off them. Carry some of the weight offensively, and also give them someone to play with.

    The more highly skilled the kids are the more highly skilled you need those veterans to be.

    It would be a waste having Nylander centre a line with Grabner or Parenteau, and Hyman. They are fine, don’t get me wrong, and very useful in their roles, but it leaves too much of the heavy lifting to Nylander.

    I expect the idea for next season will be to try and pair a young talent guy with a veteran talent guy. Much in the way Babcock seems to like two skill guys on a line with a more role player type.

    So, in that perspective having a guy like Radulov– preferably on a short-term deal– makes sense. And then you trade him at the deadline for picks or prospects. The cycle repeats.