That the Maple Leafs are working on a contract with Nikita Zaitsev to bring him overseas is no surprise given the Leafs’ well-documented pursuit of the Russian defenceman dating back to last summer, but Russian outlet AllHockey.Ru is claiming a well-known CSKA Moscow teammate may be coming with him.

Alessandro Seren Rosso sent MLHS a translation of AllHockey.Ru‘s report:

CSKA Moscow leading players, forward Alexander Radulov and defenseman Nikita Zaitsev, at the end of the current season will leave the Moscow-based club to join the NHL team Toronto Maple Leafs.

According to AllHockey.ru sources, representatives of the Canadian team are in Moscow for a few days as they are negotiating contract details with the players.

It is to be noted that in the past the Toronto-based team had seven Russian players simultaneously in their roster.

CSKA Moscow leading players, forward Alexander Radulov and defenseman Nikita Zaitsev, at the end of the current season will leave the Moscow-based club to join the NHL team Toronto Maple Leafs.

Radulov’s twice come over to the NHL and exited controversially — first leaving Nashville in 2008 while on his entry-level contract due to the draw of more money overseas, earning a suspension for the entirety of 2008-09 back in the NHL, and second after he was left unsigned following the late-night partying incident with Andrei Kostitsyn in Arizona before a Predators playoff game in 2012.

Since returning to the KHL for a second time, Radulov has posted 173 points in 128 games for CSKA, finishing top three in scoring in 2012-13 and 2014-15 and most recently finishing second in the K with 65 points in 53 games in 2015-16. He’s posted 12 points in 12 games in the Gagarin Cup playoffs currently underway.

As an NHLer, the 29-year-old right winger has posted 102 points in 154 regular season games as well as 14 points in 18 playoff appearances.

Back in junior, Radulov went on a 50-game point streak, which ranks second to Mario Lemieux all time (62 games) in the QMJHL record books. He also owns the franchise points record for the Quebec Remparts with 152 in 62 games in 2005-06. That same season, he scored five points in Quebec’s Memorial Cup final win over Moncton, putting up 55 points in 23 games over that playoff run.

Radulov makes an estimated $9.2 million a season in the KHL on his current deal, which expires at the end of the season. Reports in the summer and fall suggested Radulov is considering a third attempt at the NHL given he’s avoided contract extension talks with CSKA. He is free to sign wherever he wants as a UFA.

It’s possible this is a bargaining ploy amid negotiations for a new contract in Moscow, but it’s also possible the Maple Leafs are kicking the tires on his availability.

Alex Radulov on a possible return to the NHL (date: July 6, 2015):

You see, I’m not so young. (I’m) not 20 years old, and it is possible that I will have the last chance to compete for the Stanley Cup. If it is a great option in a team that will fight for the title, then why not? But now, perhaps, too early to tell. Believe me, I choose what’s best for me and my family. I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to be free, with no obligations to some club, to determine their own fate himself. So probably I wait it, but now I can not guarantee anything.

Update — Elliotte Friedman does not believe the report is accurate as far as Radulov is concerned:

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