As indicated by the unofficial envoys to the worlds of Russian hockey, Dmitry Chesnokov and Slava Malamud, our own prodigy Alexander Radulov is heading back to the Music City. Children, rejoice! We don’t know what kind of exception was made for him, and we don’t know who ponied up the money for his special buyout (but we have a good idea), and we can only speculate he’ll return on Thursday, BUT… the goal was achieved.
Now, what’s next?
How would you like to be reading your morning news and spitting coffee all over your laptop this morning? Good morning, Doug Armstrong.
From what’s been reported, here’s the skinny on this special buyout:
-Radulov can immediately return
-He’ll fulfill his Entry Level contract, making him an RFA with Nashville holding his rights
-He still has his KHL rights held by Ufa
-If there’s a lockout, or if he doesn’t like the contract offers in the NHL/Nashville, he can return to Mother Russia and Ufa.
This sounds like a win for all three parties.
While it is exciting times for us fans, now Coach Barry Trotz and company have to squeeze yet another forward into an already crowded lineup. It’s not the worst issue to have, and especially since the West tests the depth of every playoff contender. With Paul Gaustad and Colin Wilson are nursing some minor injuries, not a bad time to see what Radulov has in the tank against a stout Penguins team.
Looking forward, this season’s roster going into the postseason is David Poile’s masterpiece. No roster players were given up, the top prospects were all retained, and the team is exponentially better. Plus, the “unicorn” is back in the gold. Ryan Suter was waiting to re-sign until after the deadline to see if the Preds were contenders. David Poile has done his job, and put the ball back in Ryan Suter’s court, hard.
To say Radulov is one of the best 50 players in the world may be a bit conservative. But even so, Nashville now has 4 of the top 50 players in their locker room; 1 is locked up long term, another two are restricted free agents, the other is Ryan Suter. The front office is batting 1.000 so far this year, one can only imagine Suter is next on the list of things to do/re-sign.
In the meantime, expect Radulov to start on the third line for a bit to get his NHL legs back. Having Gaustad and Wilson back soon would help immensely for his game, but seeing him playing on any line will be a treat for a fanbase who referred to him as the “one that got away”.