Radulov, others with ties to Predators make big money in Russia's top league

Ever wonder exactly what it is that keeps Alexander Radulov, the Nashville Predators’ skilled yet vexing prospect, returning to Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League?

How about money?

According to sports.ru, via capgeek.com, the 27-year-old is the second highest-paid player in the KHL at $7.5 million per season. That’s well above his $984,200 NHL salary in the final year of his entry-level contract, which he finally satisfied when he returned for the stretch run of 2011-12.

The top five KHL salaries:

1. Ilya Kovalchuk, SKA - 10.3 million dollars
2. Alexander Radulov, CSKA - 7.5
3. Sergei Zinoviev Salavat Yulaev - 4.7
4. Sergei Mozyakin, Metallurg Mg - 4.2
4. Alexander Perezhogin, Vanguar - 4.2

Among players on the current Predators' roster, only defenseman Shea Weber ($14 million) has a higher salary this season than Radulov, a first-round pick in 2004 who has played in the KHL all six years of its existence.

Radulov, though, is not the only former Nashville player doing well for himself in arguably the world’s second best professional hockey league.

Sergei Kostitsyn cracks the top 20 at $2.8 million (T17th) and his brother Andrei earns $1.9 million. Randy Robitaille is one of the league’s highest-paid North Americans at $1.6 million and center Sergei Soin, whose NHL rights have belonged to Nashville since 2003 (he’s never played in North America) make $1.3 million.