I know a lot of us are turning into Chicken Littles at the thought of losing Alex Radulov, and he had a heck of a season and was very entertaining to watch, but I’ll repeat that I don’t want him signed to a long term deal, at all. And when he walks away, well the Earth will keep on spinning. I think back to the Predators losing Ryan Suter as a UFA, with no compensation, and while it seemed a crushing blow at first, they survived and prospered. With young players moving up and filling the void. Eventually.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Wild are caught with these two monster contracts, to Mr. Suter, and Zach Parisé, who’s even more of a headache, and their roster is shackled to those two guys, until 2024.
Alex Radulov is a valuable asset, but at 31 years old, the cap space he’d occupy on a 5 or 6 year deal is even more valuable, I’d cherish that before the player. Alex’s best years are behind him, and we shouldn’t be paying him more as this evidentiates.
Now, as we build our fantasy rosters, we scratch our heads and wonder where the offence will come from, how do we replace his 18 goals and 55 points, we ask ourselves. The thing is, I don’t think we need to go out and get a Radu-equivalent in trade, or on the July 1 marketplace.
Can’t we get organic growth as our players improve, as they rebound from fallow seasons, as the kids take a step forward and assume greater roles? Won’t Alex Galchenyuk easily score 10-15 more? Daniel Carr had a difficult sophomore year, but maybe his third season he takes a step forward and then some, and fulfills the promise of his Gallagher-Lite 2105-16 season? Maybe Charles Hudon is that good, and chips in 15-20 himself.
We talked the big talk during the aborted playoff run, how we shouldn’t stack our roster with Brian Flynns and Tom Gilberts and block the advent of young players. Well this is where the rubber meets the road. Let’s let the kids play big(ger) minutes and the powerplay and let’s see how they do. Let’s guentzel the heck out of our kids, put them on the same lines as our Crosbys and Malkins, and see how they fare. Instead of losing them on waivers, because we have vets occupying all the musical chairs.
The last thing I want to do is to panic-pay Alex Radulov, like we did with Josh Gorges, who was playing a role he shouldn’t have, that of a first-pairing d-man, because we had no other option. Not that Alex didn’t play like a first-line winger last season, but what about when he’s 33 or 35?
Protect the cap space. Protect the draft picks. And Radu has already wished us goodbye and good luck on Twitter at the end of the season. Let’s move on already.