Alexander Radulov: Talented Right Wing With a Scoring Touch

By Eugene Belashchenko

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HISTORY:

Alexander Radulov was born in Nizhni Tagil, and is the younger brother of Chicago
Blackhawks’ draftee Igor Radulov. He followed in his brother’s footsteps
to Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s hockey school. After spending several seasons with
the Yaroslavl club, the younger Radulov joined Dynamo Moscow’s hockey school.
2001-02 season: Alexander Radulov quickly became one of the top
scorers on the Dynamo ’86 team. He teamed up with fellow 2004 NHL Draft
prospect Sergei Ogorodnikov to form a versatile duo. 2002-03 season: During
the 2002-03 season, Radulov continued to play well for Dynamo’s ’86
squad. He also joined Russia’s newly formed ’86 squad, where at first
enjoyed limited offensive success, but showed a lot of potential. 2003-04
season:
Radulov started the 2003-04 season with Dynamo’s junior
farm team, Dynamo 2. Two months into the regular season, he was loaned to the
High League’s (Russia 2) THK (Tver). With Tver, Radulov’s career took
off, as the young forward averaged a point per game. His performance even merited
a recall by Dynamo Moscow, though, after the short tryout, he was sent back to
THK Tver for the rest of the 2003-04 season. In Tver, he was joined there by former
Dynamo ’86 linemate, Sergei Ogorodninov, and the two have been skating on
THK’s top line. On the internatonal arena, a new line was put together at
the August’s U18 World Cup, with Radulov skating on the right wing with
Mikhail Yunkov and Roman Voloshenko. The line remained together for the rest of
the 2003-04 season, and became Russia’s most productive and consistent unit.
Please refer to the U18 WJC review for a detailed evaluation of Alexander Radulov’s
performance at that tournament.

U18 WJC (April ’04) (Grade: B)
Radulov’s Recall to Dynamo: As reported earlier by RussianProspects.com,
Radulov was recalled by Dynamo Moscow from Tver late in the regular season.
The move caused a lot of concern regarding the young player’s development,
since he was the top impact player for THK Tver in the High League, and most
likely would have never seen much ice with Dynamo Moscow. The fears proved to
be founded, as Radulov played only one game for Dynamo Moscow (Russia 1) in
almost two months with the club, spending the rest of the regular season with
Dynamo 2 (Russia 3). While with Dynamo 2, Radulov lost some of the edge he gained
while with THK, and arrived at the U18 WJC training camp in not as good of a
playing shape as he was in at the February’s Five Nations tournament.

Radulov started the tournament off strong in the qualifying round. The young
forward saw the ice well and proved to be a very good playmaker. While his hands
are not on the same level as those of Malkin or Parshin, Radulov would probably
be the third or fourth best puckhandler being drafted out of Russia this year.
The talented winger carried the puck up the ice with confidence and made a lot
of impressive set ups for his linemates, especially Voloshenko. To effectively
complement his strong array of skills, the young forward does still need to
improve his skating, which is currently slightly above average. Radulov was
not as dominant in Minsk as he was in Finland a few months earlier, but he still
played at a very high level and the young forward showed a lot of heart and
effort.

The Medal Round: Surprisingly, the young winger, who is known for letting emotions
get the better of him and unnecessarily draw penalties, only received a single
minor penalty during the entire tournament. This is a positive and a negative
indicator of Radulov’s performance at the U18 WJC. While he played more
disciplined hockey, Radulov also did not fare well against more physical Canadian
and American squads, which is a cause for some concern. This is likely a mental
issue that the young forward will need to battle through. Radulov needs to learn
to stay in the play despite physical pressure. Overall, Radulov enjoyed a solid
tournament and despite a lackluster medal round, he still solidified his position
as a first round pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, possibly moving ahead of
Enver Lisin amongst Russia’s eligible players.

1986 5 Nations Tournament (Feb.’04) Grade B: The Radulov-Yunkov-Voloshenko
line wreaked havoc on opponents. Unfortunately, there apparently may have been
two Radulov’s out there on the ice with team Russia. One was the dynamic,
creative young forward who shared Team Russia’s scoring lead, aggressively
attacking his opponents. The other was the more timid Radulov, who hesitated
to fight hard at the boards and take on bigger opponents in traffic. Alexander
Radulov delivered, at times, a spectacular performance, playing on the tournament’s
best line. However, the talented winger seemed to disappear under pressure,
especially in the game against the physical American squad. In addition, he
needs to improve his work ethic in his own end of the ice. Radulov has a wealth
of potential, especially if he gets some of his attitude issues in order, but
he will not be able to reach the level of a top-notch prospect if he does not
continue to improve his skating and average top speed. The winger would be so
much more effective if he could tap that extra gear. He will most definitely
skate for Russia at the U18 WJC. Unfortunately, he may not significantly improve
between these tournaments, since he has been recalled by Dynamo Moscow from
a club in Russia’s secondary professional league, the Upper League, and
will likely spend the rest of the season skating for the Super League club’s
junior farm team, Dynamo 2, at a significantly lower level of competition.

TALENT ANALYSIS

Skating: Not one of his weaknesses, but does not stand out with
his skating either…technically sound…only slightly above average top
speed and acceleration … can be deceiving, using his maneuverability to
compensate for the relatively low top speed, maneuvering his way around opponents.
Shot:
Shoots the puck well…strong, precise wrist shot…can
consistently put a wrist shot up to the top shelf of the net. Technical
Ability:
An above average puck handler…likes to carry the puck
up the ice, using his agility and puck control…likes to start carrying the
puck in the center of the ice, then streaking up along the boards…tends
to over handle the puck. Pass: Has soft hands and is capable
of making precise passes, albeit, at times, he prefers not to share the puck.
Hockey Sense: Sees the ice well, but primarily uses his gift
to score, instead of setting up his linemates…needs to improve the quickness
of h
is decision making with the puck. Defensive Play: Not reliable
defensively…doesn’t apply himself in his own zone…tends to cover
his man, but constantly looks for an opportunity to go on the offensive. Physical
Play:
Stands at 6’1 and 183 pounds…needs to fill in his frame
to be effective in physical play…competitive, although he has not been as
physical as he was last season, possibly due to the higher quality of competition
in both the High League and in the international arena…doesn’t battle
for the puck as hard this season and tends to avoid contact. Mental Game:
A very competitive individual, but has had past issues with discipline, some of
which he appears to have resolved towards the end of the 2003-04 season…
tends to be a bit hot-headed, hurting his team with unnecessary minor penalties,
and has run into some problems with THK Tver’s head coach for arguing…needs
to improve his work ethic during practices. Overall: Radulov
is a finisher, who sees the ice well and is very skilled. He needs to further
work on his skating, work on his physical presence and stabilize the mental aspects
of his game to continue his development in the Super League (Russia 1).

NHL:
Alexander Radulov is eligible for the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. The young forward has a wealth of potential and an impressive finishing touch, but needs to boost his physical presence, share the puck more and shore up his work ethic and disciplinary issues. Radulov’s style is reminiscent of last year’s New York Islanders second round draft pick, Dmitri Chernykh, who also depends on his individual abilities to succeed. Like Chernykh, Radulov is highly touted to be picked in the first round, but may have to wait until the round before being selected.

RP Draft Projection: Late 1st round pick

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SeasonTeamLeagueGPGAPtsPIM+/-
2003-04Team Russia 86 5 Nations Tourn

43472+5
2003-04THK Tver Upper League

4314163086+6
2003-04U18 Team Russia U18 WJC (Intl.)62572+7
2003-04Team Russia 86 4 Nations Tourn. (Intl.)321324
2002-03Dynamo Moscow 86 Jr. League (Reg. Season)151011212
2002-03Dynamo Moscow 86 Jr. League (Playoffs)1078150
2002-03Team Russia 86 Junior World Cup (Intl.)520260
2002-03Team Russia 86 6 Nations Tourn. (Intl.)301116
2002-03Team Moscow Reg. Tourn. (Juniors)44592
2002-03Dynamo Moscow 86 Jr. League (Finals)6461026
2001-02Dynamo Moscow 86 Jr. League (Reg. Season)1617223924
2001-02Dynamo Moscow 86 Jr. League (Playoffs)1415153032
2001-02Dynamo Moscow 86 Moscow Cup (Juniors)563953
2001-02Team Moscow Reg. Tourn. (Juniors)52350