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Wandering Russian: Radulov strengthens Nashville ahead of Stanley Cup

Published time: March 20, 2012 11:38
Edited time: March 20, 2012 16:12
Aleksandr Radulov is returning to the NHL (RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko)

Aleksandr Radulov is returning to the NHL (RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko)

The KHL's most prolific player Aleksandr Radulov is going to return to his former NHL team, the Nashville Predators, and see out the rest of his contract.

The Russian’s signing for Salavat Yulaev in 2008 created a rift between the world's two biggest ice hockey leagues. Disputes over his contract caused a major row.

The gist of the problem was that in 2008 Radulov, one of the most talented young Russian players in North America, was still had one more season to run on his Nashville contract. After been offered better conditions in Ufa, Radulov notified his team of his desire to play in Russia.

Shortly after, the NHL, and International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) stressed Radulov was obliged by his contract to play another year for the Predators, and signing with Salavat was a direct violation of an agreement made the previous day between the NHL and all international hockey leagues to respect players' existing contracts.

The KHL, in their turn, argued that Radulov signed on July 5, five days before the agreement was made. A few days after, the IIHF suspended Radulov from international play, but the ban was lifted after it appeared there was no legal ground to suspend him.

The star forward was the top scorer for Salavat with 25 goals during the KHL regular season. But the reigning champions stumbled at the first hurdle in the on-going play-offs leaving the 25-year-old free to re-join his former NHL side.

Radulov is now determined to work out his contract in Nashville till the end. He is expected to appear on the ice on Thursday night in the Predators game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He will be also allowed to play in the Stanley Cup. Meanwhile, his future still remains unclear. In July he will become a restricted free agent, which makes it possible for him to change club, or even league.

So far he hasn’t commented on whether he would like to return in the KHL or not.