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Radulov back in the NHL next season?

Dec 21, 2011, 2:45 PM EDT

Alexander Radulov Getty Images

Interesting post here by Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov, who finds reason to believe Alexander Radulov could return to the NHL next season.

Some background: Radulov was drafted 15th overall in 2004 by the Predators. He played two seasons in Nashville, scoring 26 goals as an NHL sophomore in 2006-07, after which he controversially bolted to the KHL to play for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.

Radulov’s put up big numbers in the KHL. In 2010-11, he led all players with 80 points in 54 games and was named the league’s MVP.

But perhaps he’s ready to return to the best league in the world.

In an interview with the KHL’s official magazine Hot Ice, Radulov said, “I am not going to say anything about the NHL because actually I never closed the door on the idea of playing there. As far as Salavat Yulaev is concerned, I have a contract with the team for this year and the next. However, it actually contains [a clause] with a possibility of early termination…I am not ruling out anything. Because if there are offers, we will consider them.”

Of note, the 25-year-old winger has a year remaining on his entry-level deal with the Predators; however, Chesnokov speculates Radulov could avoid the last year of his NHL contract and sign a fresh deal, a la Alex Semin’s return from Russia in 2006.

Back in May when speculation first arose that Radulov could be returning to the NHL, Predators GM David Poile confirmed to Nashville’s City Paper that the two sides had spoken.

“[He says] he can get out of his contract,” Poile said. “I don’t know what he wants to do. … We [told] him … we can trade his rights, but he said, ‘No, no. I want to play in Nashville.’”

  1. loinstache - Dec 21, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    I’m not a predators fan but the prospect of securing Weber and Sutter and finally having a dominant up and coming scorer in the bank is pretty exciting.

  2. danphipps01 - Dec 21, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Huh. I don’t know. I’m a little leery of Russian star forwards, what with Semin, Filatov, etc. considered. And Radulov DID walk out on his third year to sign a bigger deal in Russia. Pretty classless. But if he actually spent a couple years there and then agreed to come back and play for his entry-level salary with the Preds and re-enter the NHL in the right way, that would redeem him. Who knows? If he can cut it in the NHL and he wants to play in Nashville, why the hell not? I’d go for it.

    • stakex - Dec 21, 2011 at 11:40 PM

      Classless? These guys are professionals, who play hockey to make a living. Would you call it classless for someone in another profession to quit one job and go to another one in which they are making a crap load more money? Of course not, you would call it a no brainer. So why is it suddenly classless when a professional hockey player leaves one job to go to another in which hes making more money? Especially when that new “job” is in his home country, and not on the other side of the planet.

      I could understand some Nashville fans being sore on the subject obviously, but I would certainly never call what Radulov did “classless” or say that he needs to redeem himself. Sure he broke his contract which isn’t cool… but given the reasons he did it I can’t say I blame him. Either way though hes a top notch player and the NHL should and would welcome him back with open arms… and I doubt that the fans of what ever team he goes to would care much about his past.

      • danphipps01 - Dec 22, 2011 at 6:25 AM

        Difference ‘tween a typical job and a professional sports position is, generally, typical jobs don’t involve signing a contract saying “I will work here until this date.” Sports positions do. And when the players signing them walk out on that commitment, yes, they’re pretty classless for doing so. He was signed to three years. He played two and left for greener pastures. And yes, it is fair to hold that against him. He signed a contract saying in no uncdertain terms that he would play three years in Nashville, then decided it wasn’t good enough for him. It’s absolutely fair to view that very negatively.

        However, as I said, if he’s willing to come back and play out that year, *especially* in light of the fact that Poile’s said he’s willing NOT to hold him to it… alright, fair enough. That’s a strong gesture of goodwill and I wouldn’t hold it against him if he did that.

        In any event, I should clarify – I’m not a Nashville fan. I just think it’s a very poor move to walk out on your word like that. If he’s willing to make right, though, fantastic. That’s the right thing to do and a guy with his skill still has a good chance of making his way in the NHL. I’m glad to see he’s considering it.

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