It was all smiles, hugs and handshakes on Wednesday as Nashville GM David Poile re-introduced Alexander Radulov to the media at Bridgestone Arena:
After Poile and Radulov talked about their excitement levels, reconciliation and shared desire to win, the two got down to brass tacks — namely, rumors that Radulov’s NHL release was contingent upon returning to the KHL.
There have been reports Radulov might head back to the KHL after playing in Nashville’s final nine games and the playoffs. Poile said his understanding is Radulov has no obligations to his KHL team to return.
Radulov said the same.
“There’s been a lot of talking about it,” he said. “I didn’t say anything. I didn’t promise anything to anybody. I got an opportunity to move from Russia this summer, so that’s about it.”
Poile said his goal is to have “this relationship last longer than these last nine games and the playoffs.”
“Probably the story’s not over because we don’t know,” he said. “We don’t know how good he’s going to be, how good he’s going to fit in, how long it’s going to last.”
As for where Radulov will fit in — Predators head coach Barry Trotz skated him alongside David Legwand and Patric Hornqvist, essentially Nashville’s first line. Gabriel Bourque had previously been the LW next to Legwand (15 points in his last 17 games) and Hornqvist (Nashville’s leading goalscorer, with 24.)
According to Josh Cooper of The Tennessean, Bourque will drop to the third line, skating with Andrei Kostitsyn and Nick Spaling.