Canadiens may need to think long term if they want to keep Radulov

David Amber, Nick Kypreos, Kelly Hrudey and Elliotte Friedman talk about the top headlines from Saturday in the NHL.

If the Montreal Canadiens want to keep Alexander Radulov beyond this season, they may have to consider a long-term deal.

The right-winger is currently on a one-year, $5.75-million contract and is looking to “hit a home run” in his impending free agency, said Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos during Hockey Night in Canada’s Headlines segment on Saturday.

“Long term. That’s what Radulov wants,” said Kypreos. “This is his window of opportunity to get a long-term deal.”

Radulov is enjoying a remarkable return to the NHL after his most recent stint in the KHL, scoring 14 goals and 42 points over 57 games this season. He’s plus-six, has 15 power-play points and projects to be the top available free agent this coming off-season.

Sources say Radulov could be seeking as many as six years in a deal, according to Kypreos, who added that age may be a factor for the Canadiens to consider. Radulov will turn 31 this July.

“The problem is he’s not 28 years old,” said Kypreos. “At 31 years of age, how deep do you want to go for Radulov?”

Kypreos suggests that Montreal could consider offering Radulov a five- or six-year deal for perhaps $4.5 or $5 million per season. If the club is not comfortable with such term, it could possibly go the same route it went with centre Tomas Plekanec and offer a shorter term with a higher annual average.

“They might have to go as much as $21 million over three years if they want to keep the term down.”