Nashville Predators general manager David Poile stated today that the Predators will attempt to trade the rights to Predators forward Alexander Radulov to another team before the start of free agency. If no suitor can be had, the team will likely allow Radulov to return to the KHL.
“We feel the fit right now is not with Nashville,” Poile told the Nashville Tennessean newspaper. “The best way to characterize it is it’s time to not pursue Rad anymore. If he wants to play in the KHL that’s fine, if he wants to play with another NHL team I’d be willing to trade his rights.”
Radulov made headlines earlier this season when he decided to rejoin the Nashville Predators with about three weeks remaining in the regular season after spending four seasons playing abroad in the KHL. Despite only finishing two years of his entry level contract with the Predators before going to the KHL, Nashville decided to honor the remaining third year of his contract if he were to join the team for the remainder of the regular season.
Radulov recorded three goals and four assists in nine games with the Predators and then tallied an additional six points in eight playoff games.
However, Radulov made headlines again during the second round of the playoffs when head coach Barry Trotz decided to bench Radulov and teammate Andrei Kostitsyn for Game 3 of the series after both players returned late from a local bar, thus breaking curfew.
Despite finishing out the remainder of his entry level contract with the Predators this season, Radulov remains a restricted free agent with Nashville owning his playing rights.
“I have reached out to a few teams in the NHL to see whether there is any interest,” Poile said. “If there is, there’s the possibility we could trade his rights.”
It was reported last week that the New York Rangers were interested in obtaining the rights to Radulov in order to improve their offensive depth. If any move is made, it will likely happen before the draft later this month.
It will be interesting to see how this move affects Nashville’s attempts to re-sign defenseman Ryan Suter, a pending unrestricted free agent. Poile met with Suter last week and had positive talks, although there is no concrete information regarding what they discussed specifically. But Suter has been vocal about wanting the team to bring in impact players who will turn the Predators into Stanley Cup contenders.