The Dallas Stars are continuing their off-season, laser-like focus on improvement, signing free agent forward Alexander Radulov earlier this month to a five-year contract worth $31.25 million.
Two days later the Russian professional ice hockey player turned 31. What a birthday present.
Radulov, a scoring line winger, spent 2016 on a one-year $5.75 million deal with the Montreal Canadiens. He finished the season scoring 18 goals and 36 assists for a total of 54 points while playing in 76 games .
He previously had two separate stints with the Nashville Predators, the NHL team which had drafted him, as well as 8 seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League playing 4 years each with Salavat Yulaev Ufa and CSKA Moscow.
He is a two-time World Champion (2008 and 2009) with the Russian National Hockey Team; a 2011 Gagarin Cup champion with Salavat Yulaev Ufa; and a 2006 Memorial Cup champion with the Quebec Remparts. He won the Golden Stick Award (KHL MVP) on four occasions. Radulov ranks second in all-time KHL scoring with 427 points, behind only Sergei Mozyakin.
Focus appears to be the word of the summer for the Stars.
Since ending the season with a 34-37-11 record, missing the playoffs for the seventh time in the past nine seasons and free-falling 30-points in the standing from one-year to the next, Stars general manager Jim Nill has been busy at work. He bought out goalie Antti Neimi’s contract and picked up off-season prizes that include: adding Martin Hanzal, a third-line center; star goalie Ben Bishop; Radulov and on defense, Marc Methot.
And oh yeah, he hired a new coach; Ken Hitchcock, the Stars’ former coach from 1995-2002 and the man who brought the team and this city its first and only Stanly Cup (1998-99).
Nill said earlier this month to the media that putting the team in position to win is the goal. “This is the National Hockey League. We want to win every year. That’s where I want to get this franchise to. It’s about having an opportunity to win every year
“Where we’re at with this franchise is we’ve got some players in their prime, we’ve got some good young players coming up,” he said. “I thihnk we’re in a good spot where it’s time now that this considtency is in the organization. And that’s what were looking forward to.”
Said Hitchcock: “I think we’re going to have one of the most entertaining teams in the National Hockey League.”
— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) July 19, 2017
With the way this off-season has been going, entertaining is an understatement.
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