By Adam McGill
With the fantasy hockey season almost over, there are not many great finds on the waiver wire. However, recently winger Alexander Radulov returned to the United States and the fantasy afterthought is finally ready to start making an impact. Radulov left Nashville for his homeland of Russia following the 2007-08 season so he could fine-tune his skills before coming to the NHL. The 25-year old spent four grueling years in the former U.S.S.R., which has helped him mature as a player. During that span, he amazingly won two MVP awards in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) and even won a title with Salavat Yulayev Ufa. Radulov completely dominated the league despite it being comprised of some of the world’s most physical players.
Radulov scored in his first game back stateside, which ironically was in a game versus his Russian rival, Evgeni Malkin. Malkin had the much better showing however, as he scored two goals in the game, bringing his season total up to a league leading 95 points. Malkin’s performance completely overshadowed Radulov’s successful return to the ice, but it was still extremely promising to see the kid show up ready to play.
“A-Rad” will be a fantasy steal from here on out and is still available in a majority of leagues. He can score goals, spread the puck around, and more importantly he can fore-check. Radulov is the type of free agent pickup that can anchor a fantasy bench and at this point in the season it is a rarity to find such a natural goal scorer on the waiver wire. All fantasy hockey owners better make sure that this kid is not floating in the free agent pool because he can easily score 20 goals by the end of the year. The only thing that could hinder his fantasy value would be if he was to go back to Russia, but that would be increasingly unlikely if he continues to keep scoring goals.