Nikolaev told Sovetsky Sport that “the matter has been resolved within the framework of the Kontinental Hockey League regulations…Alexander is leaving for Nashville.”
Predators GM David Poile hasn’t received confirmation that Radulov is on his way back, but that hasn’t stopped him from being optimistic about the return of his player.
“We have been in contact with Jay Grossman, Alexander’s (other) agent, throughout this process of trying to return Alexander to the Predators and the NHL,” said Poile. “Though the complicated process has yet to be concluded, every indication is that Alexander will be returning to Nashville in the near future. We do not anticipate having any further update on this process until tomorrow, at the earliest.”
As many know, Radulov left Nashville for the KHL’s Ufa Salavat Yulayev in 2008. He had a year left on his entry-level contract and is, for all intents and purposes, still in a valid National Hockey League contract. He was put on the suspended list, but it’s really up to the Predators to determine what to do with him because he’s still their guy.
Some have compared the situation to Marty Turco’s in that the goalie can’t suit up for the post-season, but the difference in the Radulov case is that Turco was an unrestricted free agent when he signed with the Bruins and Radulov is, yep, serving an existing NHL contract.
It is that existing NHL contract that really makes Radulov Nashville’s problem. The Predators are getting back their player.
In another possible complication to this situation, Nikolaev reports that the KHL club hasn’t terminated Radulov’s existing contract there either. They’ll retain his playing rights for next season, which could have him returning to Russia. This shouldn’t theoretically be a problem, as Radulov can play just one game to complete the remaining season on his entry-level contract. From there, he’ll be a restricted free agent in the summer.