Alexander Radulov Will Return to Nashville Predators for Postseason Run

Ryan O'LearyFeatured Columnist IMarch 19, 2012

LOS ANGELES - MARCH 3:  Alexander Radulov #47 of the Nashville Predators lines up on the wing prior to a faceoff against the Los Angeles Kings during their NHL game on March 3, 2007 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  The Predators defeated the Kings 6-3. (Photo by Noah Graham/Getty Images)
Noah Graham/Getty Images

At long last, Alexander Radulov is returning to the NHL and the Nashville Predators.

Dmitry Chesnokov of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Radulov's agent Yuri Nikolaev told Russian news outlet Sovetsky Sport, "...the matter has been resolved within the framework of the KHL Regulations. Alexander is leaving for Nashville."

As late as last week, Radulov was ready to rejoin Nashville, though he had not yet received permission to leave from his Russian club, Salavat Yulaev.

Now an agreement is in place and Radulov is free to join Nashville for at least the rest of this season, including the playoffs, and potentially longer.

Nashville's next game is Tuesday evening at home against the Edmonton Oilers, but there is no word if Radulov will in uniform for that early.

The team is in Pittsburgh on Thursday and then returns back to Nashville on Saturday for a game against Winnipeg. That could be the likeliest return date for the Russian star.

Radulov last played for Nashville in 2007-08, posting 26 goals and 58 points in 81 games for the Predators. His decision to return to Russia after that season sparked intense controversy between the NHL and KHL regarding mutual respect for contracts.

With this latest dispute and roadblock cleared, Nashville can look forward to having arguably the most talented player in franchise history back on the ice for the playoff run.

Currently, Nashville sits fourth in the Western Conference with 92 points, and with St. Louis in firm grasp of the Central Division lead, the Predators will jockey with Detroit to maintain the four seed with 10 games remaining.

The 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs saw the Predators make the franchise's deepest playoff run, losing in six games to the Vancouver Canucks in the conference semifinals.

Radulov's return will likely strengthen a Nashville offense ranked ninth in the NHL in goals per game (2.8) and clicking at 21.6 percent on the power play, second best in the league.

Nashville drafted Radulov in the first round, 15th overall in the 2004 NHL entry draft.


Ryan O'Leary is a writer and researcher for Bleacher Report's Video Production Department with seven years experience in the sports industry. Ryan covered the 2010 Vancouver Olympic hockey tournament with CTV and has spent time covering the IIHF World Championships, NHL and collegiate hockey during his career.