It seemed that Alexander Radulov’s days with the Nashville Predators were numbered from the moment that Barry Trotz decided him to suspend him during the playoffs, but now it’s almost official. Reports of intense interest from the KHL and even the New York Rangers have already surfaced, but now Predators GM David Poile even told the Tennessean that the team will either trade his rights to another team or let him return to the KHL.
“The best way to characterize it is it’s time to not pursue Rad anymore,” Poile said. “If he wants to play in the KHL that’s fine, if he wants to play with another NHL team I’d be willing to trade his rights.”
When asked if it would be safe to say that Radulov won’t be with the Predators next season, Poile said: “I would say right now that would be safe to say.”
As messy as the two-game suspensions for Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn were, it’s hard not to get the “afterall that?” feeling from this situation. The Predators waited years to get the rising young forward back to the NHL and then he ultimately played just 17 games (nine regular season, eight in the playoffs) for the Preds.
In that time he was quite productive, yet that curfew snafu clearly soured Trotz & Co. on the pending restricted free agent.
It’s likely that a KHL team could make Radulov quite happy, but considering the brief tease in the NHL, it only heightens the curiosity regarding what kind of career he could generate in North America. It’ll be interesting to see if that ends up happening after all, yet one thing seems clear: you can mark “return to the Predators” off the list of possibilities.