Alex Radulov has suspension lifted, officially back with Predators
With the contractual hurdles already hopped, the Predators took the final step to completing their "acquisition" of Alex Radulov by lifting the suspension they imposed four years ago when he left for the KHL.
|Radulov has his old No. 47 back in Nashville. (Getty Images)|
There had been a lot of talk and speculation about if he would come back to the NHL, if he would even be allowed to and what the future might entail for him. Two of those questions have been answered, the third will come at a later time.
With the contractual hurdles already hopped, the Predators took the final step to completing this "acquisition" by lifting the suspension they imposed on Radulov four years ago when he left for the KHL, leaving the final season of his contract with the Predators behind.
"It's good to be back," Radulov said in front of the Nashville media, donning the new -- at least to Radulov -- yellow Predators jersey with his old No. 47 on the back.
"We saved your number because we knew you were coming back," general manager David Poile said when handing the sweater over.
This has been a big deal because, well, Radulov is kind of a big deal. He has consistently been referred to as the best player in the world not in the NHL. He's been the top player in the Russian league the last few seasons without a doubt and he brings a lot of talent to the Preds, already a true Stanley Cup contender.
If you doubt that he can play in the NHL, just remember he had more than 60 points as a 21-year-old with the Predators. He is a superb offensive talent. Perhaps a better way to show how good he is? The fact that the Preds have welcomed him back with open arms despite them abandoning him for the KHL some years ago. Poile was so excited that he picked up Radulov from the airport himself.
For what it's worth, the Predators' official site is already projecting Radulov to move onto the top line alongside Martin Erat and Mike Fisher.
This move is done with the immediate future in mind, surely. Radulov is a massive boost for their hopes this season to win it all. "We're here to compete, we're here to challenge and hopefully to win a Stanley Cup," Poile said, making it clear.
But the future is on everybody's mind, too. This could potentially be a very short reunion, so people are wondering where it goes after this. Does Radulov have to return to the KHL, as reported this week? Well Radulov said he made no promises, just did what he had to do to leave and come back to the NHL.
In the meantime, can we expect to see Radulov making his season debut Thursday night in Pittsburgh? Radulov said he hasn't been skating much lately while he was getting the paperwork straightened out but "If they put me on the ice, I'm ready to play."
Buckle up, Nashville, this could be fun.
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