Agent: Radulov happy, willing to talk extension with Canadiens

NHL analyst Jason York says the Montreal Canadiens are the real deal despite their losing streak, but does say they’re a different team without Alexander Radulov in the lineup, and the energy he brings.

We can put the Alex Semin comparisons to bed now, can’t we?

With off-season acquisition Alexander Radulov proving a fast fit with the Montreal Canadiens, his agent is reportedly prepared to consider a long-term extension with the club should general manager Marc Bergevin be interested.

“He likes Montreal and the fans have quickly adopted him. I don’t see why this relationship can’t continue,” Radulov’s agent, Maxim Moliver, told La Presse Thursday when asked (quotes translated). “All players want a long-term deal. If the Canadiens want to approach us with a new long term deal, we’ll listen for sure.

“Look what happened to Brent Burns…. It’s no different for a family man like Alex.”

Moliver said it was still too early to dive into negotiations.

Bergevin agrees, or at least he did when asked earlier this month.

“Way too early,” Bergevin told ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun on Nov. 4.

“I remember when we traded for [Thomas] Vanek [at the 2014 deadline], and he really helped us get into the playoffs — he did — at the end it didn’t work out as well for him and us down the stretch. For the first month or so after we got him, some fans and media were saying, ‘Sign, sign, sign.’ You’ve got to be patient. There’s lots of time. We’re enjoying how he’s playing, and hopefully he keeps having success.”

When Bergevin brought the KHL star back to North America on a one-year, $5.75-million deal this summer, eyebrows were raised.

But Radulov has earned his keep. His 13 assists and 17 points tie him for second on the team in both categories. Habs fans have embraced him and he’s gelled nicely with Alex Galchenyuk, the top centre for first-place Montreal.

Then there’s this:

“Alexander is focusing on his game,” said Moliver. “He wants to have a good season to show he’s capable of playing in this league.”

Free agents who sign one-year contracts can’t officially extend their deals until Jan. 1.

If he continues to produce at this rate, the 200-pound Russian should be the most in-demand winger on 2017’s open market. He turns 31 this summer and will be looking for term and a raise.

Last summer, Radulov was reportedly requesting as much as $7.5 million per year, but that ask should come down in exchange for security.

“I’m happy to take it one day at a time. I always have approached it that way, like my father taught me,” Radulov told reporters Wednesday following practice.

“It’s early and I haven’t even played 20 games. There’s a lot of games left on the schedule. But it’s fun playing here in a city where hockey is all that matters and winning is all that matters. I love it.”

(with files from Eric Engels)

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