Stars sign Radulov to $31.25m, five-year deal

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Right winger Alexan­der Radulov got the rich­est con­tract given to an un­re­stricted free agent this off­sea­son when he signed a $31.25 mil­lion, five-year deal with the Dal­las Stars.

Only af­ter agree­ing on terms with the Stars did Radulov get an of­fer from the Cana­di­ens to stay in Mon­treal for that long. “The money was ba­si­cally the same level. For me it was more the term,” Radulov said Mon­day. “Be­cause I re­ally (wanted), five years at least on my deal, and I want to play and not worry about it. Just play hard and try to win.”

The Stars ob­tained the top player avail­able on the mar­ket on Day 3 of free agency. Radulov will count $6.25 mil­lion against the salary cap through 2021-22. “Alexan­der is a dy­namic play­maker with top-end speed and skill,” Gen­eral man­ager Jim Nill said. “To add a for­ward of this stature to our lineup makes our top six as deep and tal­ented as any group in this league.”

The 30-year-old Rus­sian had 18 goals and 36 as­sists for 54 points last sea­son with the Mon­treal Cana­di­ens af­ter re­turn­ing to the NHL fol­low­ing four sea­sons in the Kon­ti­nen­tal Hockey League. He played on a $5.75 mil­lion, one-year deal and was look­ing for a long-term agree­ment this time around. “When I put ev­ery­thing on the ta­ble and I saw what I have, it was an easy de­ci­sion to go to Dal­las,” Radulov said. “With Mon­treal, I don’t think we even get that close, you know. In my opin­ion.”

Nill said he couldn’t say what hap­pened with Mon­treal’s ne­go­ti­a­tions with Radulov, but added that his con­ver­sa­tions with the player showed he was very com­mit­ted to join­ing the Stars. Dal­las also has signed cen­ter Martin Han­zal for $14.25 mil­lion over three years, ac­quired de­fense­man Marc Methot from ex­pan­sion Ve­gas and traded for and signed goal­tender Ben Bishop.

“We’re ex­cited about th­ese moves, but we’ve got to go to work now. It doesn’t guar­an­tee any­thing,” Nill said. “We like what we have on pa­per, but in the end the goal for us is to be a con­tender ev­ery year, to get in the play­offs ev­ery year. We didn’t do that last year for dif­fer­ent rea­sons, in­juries and ev­ery­thing else.”

Be­fore miss­ing the play­offs this past sea­son, the Stars had been the top seed in the West­ern Con­fer­ence in 2015-16. Radulov spoke by phone a few days ago with Stars cap­tain Jamie Benn, who with Tyler Seguin make up one of the NHL’s top scor­ing duos. Radulov said Dal­las was an “easy choice” for him be­cause of the play­ers al­ready there.

“(Benn) told me about the team, about the guys, about the city,” Radulov said. “And I re­ally liked it and I’m re­ally thank­ful for the Dal­las or­ga­ni­za­tion to give me a chance to play with a great player.” — AP

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