Preds GM Poile on Radulov: “I think he’s a better version of what he was”


There are those who figure Alexander Radulov will be a nice addition — complimentary piece even — to the Nashville Predators this postseason.

Then then are those within the organization — David Poile and Barry Trotz specifically — who figure Radulov will be much, much more.

That’s what John Manasso uncovered in his latest piece for Fox Sports Tennessee, as Poile and Trotz¬† seem convinced Radulov isn’t just a potential wildcard, but rather a piece to put the Predators over the top.

“I think he’s a better version of what he was both as a player and as a person,” Poile said of Radulov. “We talk all the time about your younger players, as they get older and have more experiences, I think they know how to play more effectively, more successfully and I think they understand the team concept a lot better.”

Nashville’s head coach agreed.

“He’s got great vision, he’s got great hands,” Trotz said. “Some of the things he did created a lot of chances and that’s what Rad does, but he’s still really good defensively, too.

“He manages the game way better than he did four years ago and that’s the maturity of just time and understanding the game and I’m excited. I know the guys are excited as we go on here.”

What’s interesting is how Nashville’s worked Radulov back into the mix. In Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to St. Louis, Radulov received 22 minutes and 50 seconds of ice time in his third game with the club. That was three full minutes more than the next second-leading forward (David Legwand, 19:19). The only guys that played more were Shea Weber and Ryan Suter.

Now’s a good time to mention that only one Preds forward — Mike Fisher — averages over 19 minutes a game. Last year, no forward did.

The explanation for this is simple: Radulov’s window for acclimatization is small, so he needs as much ice as possible. And hey, that’s fine. But it also suggests Poile and Trotz have seen enough through three games to determine Radulov is as good, if not better, than any of their existing offensive weapons. (Otherwise, why bother giving him the ice time at someone else’s expense, or the expense of team chemistry?)

If that’s the case, there’s not a lot of time for the team to gel.

“For a team that was playing well, we’ve made more changes than anybody in the league,” Poile said. “From that standpoint, we have a lot of adjustments to make. Lines have been changed, roles have been changed, ice time has been changed…

“We really need these last five games to prepare for the playoffs.”

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
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It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.

Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.

Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.

The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit

What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.

Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.