It took the Nashville Predators a decade to draft another Russian-born player after Alex Radulov – a player who seemed to leave the franchise with some serious baggage – but they finally did so with second-rounder (42nd overall) Vladislav Kamenev.
The Tennessean takes an interesting look at the thought process of a team that seems haunted by its dealings with Radulov.
“This isn’t just some shot in the dark that we took,” Predators chief amateur scout Jeff Kealty said. “We fully investigated the kid himself — the situation, his intentions — and he really does want to come play in the NHL someday.”
In that Tennessean piece, one gets the feeling that the organization is trying to “sell” fans/themselves on Kamenev, who turns 18 on August 12. The phrases “very North-American brand of hockey” and “NHL-friendly style” are thrown around by people associated with the Predators or Kamenev.
The Predators experienced some disappointments regarding Russian acquisitions, but it ultimately revolves around Radulov (and Andrei Kostitsyn to some extent). The duo was suspended for two 2012 Western Conference semifinal games for breaking curfew, prompting an ugly ending to a rocky relationship.
Nashville hasn’t made the postseason since, yet this offseason indeed seems like a turning point. They changed head coaches for the first time ever by switching from Barry Trotz to Peter Laviolette and ended that decade-long drought by selecting Kamenev.
Much like it could take some time to develop Kamenev, this turnaround might not work out overnight. It still seems like change is in the air in Nashville.