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Nashville Predators

Is Radulov actually heading to Russia?

From Jeff Klein of the NY Times:

Nashville forward Alexander Radulov has reportedly signed a three-year contract with Salavat Yulaev Ufa, the current Russian champions, according to a report in the Russian paper Sport-Express and first carried in English by the web site Fourth Period. Radulov, 22, reportedly has one year left on his contract with the Predators. Under the preliminary agreement reached last month and confirmed Thursday in Zurich between NHL and KHL officials not to poach players under contract, Radulov may have to stay in Nashville. No reaction yet from NHL, KHL, Predators or Salavat officials.]

Read more about the NHL/KHL “agreement” here.

Wow, this is getting quite interesting. First off, if Radulov does bolt for Russia, that is a huge loss for the Predators heading into next season. The ultra-talented forward was certainly expected to exceed the 30 goal mark this upcoming season. However, by the sounds of it, Radulov may be blocked from heading back home. I guess that really depends on when he agreed to a contract with a KHL squad. If he agreed to a contract prior to the NHL/KHL pact, then he may be free to go. On the other hand, if he didn’t sign with the team until after the pact, then he will probably be suiting up for the Predators come the fall. Regardless, this story will surely get more intense over the hours and days ahead.

Update: Word is official from TSN.

Alexander Radulov has made the jump back home, as the young forward signed with Ufa of the Russian Superleague on Thursday. The financial details of the contract were not disclosed.Radulov, who is still under contract with the Nashville Predators, said he had warned the team that he wanted to play in Russia.

Here is the link.

Huge loss for the Predators. The team has signed almost all of its young core players to long-term pacts, so they will still be a good young team for many years, but the loss of Radulov leaves a 30 goal hole in their line-up. Never mind the fact that he was under contract for one more year and wasn’t even a free agent.

This isn’t the last we’ve heard of this story.