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Monday, February 13, 2012
Door open for Radulov to return to Preds

By Scott Burnside

NASHVILLE -- Interesting story in Nashville’s The City Paper by David Boclair asks whether erstwhile Nashville Predators sniper Alexander Radulov might be the missing piece to the Preds’ Stanley Cup puzzle.

The enigmatic Russian was a first-round pick in 2004 but bailed out on the Predators after the 2007-08 season for the Kontinental Hockey League, and hasn’t been seen on North American ice since.

The Predators still retain Radulov’s rights, and should he decide to return, he would not be required to pass through waivers. And while the Predators would welcome him back, GM David Poile told ESPN.com Monday there is absolutely no indication Radulov wants to return to Nashville or is making plans to do so either in the near or distant future.

“That’s not been stated,” Poile said of Radulov’s intentions.

That’s not to say having the talented forward land on the Predators’ doorstep wouldn’t be a good thing for a team dreaming big playoff dreams. Radulov's league-leading 80 points last season were also the most in KHL history. This season he has 59 points in 45 games, according to hockeydb.com.

“It would totally be a bonus if he came back to play,” Poile said. “With Rad, there’s always a possibility.”

Then, perhaps hoping Radulov will be surfing the Net, catching up on his old mates, Poile pointed out that at some point the 25-year-old, who is playing for Ufa of the KHL, has to decide what he wants his legacy as a player to be.

“Right now he’s a big fish in a smaller pond,” Poile said.

But it’s his play in the National Hockey League that will define how he will be remembered, the GM said.

“He has to make the decision whether it’s time for him to take his game back to Nashville,” Poile said.