Alexander Radulov was able to capture the hearts of every Dallas Stars fan this season from the get-go. His energy when on the ice, the vast emotions he portrayed with his open expressions, and most of all, his electrifying goals and even better celebrations were what made him a fan-favorite in Dallas. When bringing a free agent onto the roster, you not only hope he plays well with the team, but that the fans can get behind him as well. Radulov did that and so much more.
I think that it’s fairly safe to say that Radulov was well worth the money used to bring him to Dallas in the offseason. It has been something special to watch Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Radulov as a top line get after it out on the ice. The big three accounted for 229 points out of a total of 609 scored by the team, and while that’s a whopping number, it showed that the other lines lacked depth scoring.
Therefore, fans saw the Benn-Seguin-Radulov line tinkered with at many times throughout the season in an attempt to spread out the scoring through the roster, and Radulov seemed to suffer the most from this. Toward the end of the season, pucks were beginning not to drop for him as nearly as much as they were in the first half of the season. His other stats slowed down a bit as well, as penalties arose more often down the stretch and he seemed to get a little more frustrated (understandably so).
Radulov had a somewhat slow start to the year as it took him some time to get adjusted to the new team, much like many of the guys on the roster with Hitchcock as the new head coach. Early on, the Stars had a lot of good chances, but nothing seemed to be clicking and the whole team was beginning to get frustrated. Yet, once Radulov got into the flow of the game and into the flow of the offense, the Stars began to look like the new era had begun as everyone caught onto his energy.
“I’m just trying to work hard and get better every day. It was kind of a slow start for me, but my partners and the team was clicking. You know I just have to work hard every time I go on the ice and it doesn't matter if it’s a practice or a hockey game.”
However, the thing I personally love about Radulov is his willingness to do what it takes to get a win, whether that’s sacrificing his body for a blocked shot or taking a hit, he did what was needed on the ice.
“It’s what you have to do, it’s hard to win in this league right now. You’ve got to sacrifice your body and it takes whatever it takes. If you need to block shots just stay in front of that puck and try to block it, and if you need to go in that area and take a hit to make a play, you gotta do that. That’s what it’s all about.”
All season long, Radulov was the spark plug for the team. If the Stars needed a goal, he supplied it. Unfortunately, Dallas relied on this too much, and so the times when he couldn't convert on a chance transformed into no one on the team able to carry any momentum forward.
For Radulov, it was a streaky dominance in his play through the season, but it seemed to boil down to who he was up against. He made his presence known in many Eastern Conference games and took advantage of those matchups more often than not. But when it came to the bulk of the games against the Western Conference, it was unclear if the Stars were going to get the dominant Radulov or the Radulov where his energy just seemed to be tapped out.
Being that spark plug for the team was either a great asset to the Stars or a pesky hindrance as the team began to rely heavily Radulov and his play. When Radulov came to a halt, so did the Stars, and unfortunately Dallas couldn't find many other outlets in the second half of the season.
That being said, Radulov posted career highs throughout the season in just about everything. He recorded 72 points, 45 assists, and 27 goals — all three career highs for him. Radulov has a way of making each goal something spectacular as the celebrations were just as much fun to watch as the goal itself. The pure joy and passion that he displayed when scoring were like a kid getting his first hockey stick on Christmas morning — every single time for all 27 goals this season.
The 31-year-old winger stacks up among the best in the NHL at his position currently, as he finished the season at eighth in total points among right wingers.
Radulov also registered 77 hits and 64 blocks (both highs for him), while also tacking on 72 PIM to that list. In my mind, this season with Dallas was better than any of his other four years in the NHL. The Dallas organization made the right choice in signing him and I think Radulov found his new home rather comfortably, which is good news because the Stars have him for the long haul (until 2022-2023). He is here to stay in Dallas and that is quite alright with me and many of the other fans around the country.
So, how would y’all grade Alexander Radulov’s 2017-2018 season with the Stars?
Grading Alexander Radulov’s 2017-2018 Season
This poll is closed
A - Radulov was well worth the money we gave him and I am well on board with the Rads train.
B - Good addition to the team.
C - Radulov proved to be pivotal for the team at times, but was still too inconsistent.
D - Dallas wasted too much money on him for his streaky play.
F - Terrible offseason acquisition and we need to find a way to get rid of that contract.