Paper work being finalized that could see Radulov back in NHL Staff

3/13/2012 2:04:00 AM

Paper work is being finalized that would see Alexander Radulov return to the NHL this season and the National Hockey League Players' Association said they would agree to bypass waivers for the Russian forward if he decides to return to the Nashville Predators.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed Tuesday that Radulov is eligible to return to the Predators at any time with no limitations.

"In my gut, if there is going to be a time, it should be now," Predators general manager David Poile said after the GM meetings broke for the day Tuesday. "All the things are aligned. His playoffs are over. The hurdles are cleared. He can burn off a year (of his contract) and get himself to free agency. But more importantly than that, I have always felt he was going to come back. 

"From the day he left, I always felt he was going to come back. He's a guy who wants to play against the best players in the League. He always discusses the (Alexander) Ovechkins and the (Evgeni) Malkins in the highest order. He wants to be like that and play against them. I never fully understood why he went (to the KHL) in the first place. I've been convinced whether it was this year, next year or three years from now that he was coming back to the NHL."

The Predators drafted him 15th overall in 2004. After two seasons in the American Hockey League, he joined the NHL club and finished the 2006-07 campaign with 18 goals and 19 assists through 64 games. The following season, he scored 26 goals and added 32 assists in 81 games.

In 2008, the 25-year-old left to play for Salavat Yulayev in the KHL.

Radulov still owes the Predators another season on his entry-level contract. If he comes back for the remaining NHL schedule, it would satisfy the final season of his Predators' contract worth $980,000. He would then become a restricted free agent.

With 14 games remaining on their schedule, the Predators are fifth in the Western Conference with 87 points.