BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA - MAY 12: Alexander Radulov of Russia celebrates after the IIHF World Championship quarter final match between Canada and Russia at Orange Arena on May 12, 2011 in Bratislava, Slovakia. (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Alexander Radulov appears North America-bound, but indications are that his return to the Nashville Predators will be short-lived.
Alex Radulov will indeed join the Nashville Predators this season, according to KHL President Alexander Medvedev. But according to Pavel Lysenkov, a Russian journalist with SovSport, Radulov won't be staying in North America long.
The Medvedev translation via Puck Daddy's Dmitry Chesnokov:
"He does not intend to sign any long term contract with Nashville. Alexander will satisfy his old contract by playing the end of the regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Then he will become a restricted free agent in accordance with NHL rules. ... "But we believe that next season Alexander will come back to the KHL where the rights to him belong to Ufa.
Ufa Salavat Yulaev owns Radulov's KHL rights in 2012-13, and if you're to believe Medvedev, it appears as though Radulov has no interest in staying in the NHL, whether that be with the Predators or any other club. Medvedev says that if Radulov wishes to remain in the NHL after this season, he'd be required to buy out his KHL contract for next season.
It's all very awkward and the wires are crossed all over the place -- it's tough to know what to believe and what not to believe. Then, when you throw all kinds of KHL politics in to the mix, the whole situation gets even murkier. Via On the Forecheck:
See, that's the weird thing about the KHL. The same guy who is President of the league, is also the President of SKA Saint Petersburg, one of the leading clubs. So here you have a guy acting in a league capacity, but also perhaps maneuvering events to the benefit of his team, as well. It would be like having NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly also serving as an executive for the New York Rangers.
In any event, Radulov appears to be Nashville-bound for the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs. The Predators appear to be a Stanley Cup contender in the West without him, and with those talents they're almost certainly even more dangerous.