The New York Rangers may already be on the hunt to build up their offence for next season.
With Marian Gaborik potentially sidelined until December with his scheduled shoulder surgery, the team has reportedly reached out to the Nashville Predators about acquiring pending restricted free agent Alexander Radulov, according to the New York Post.
The report states that Radulov has an offer on the table from CSKA of the Kontinental Hockey League and that Predators general manager David Poile would be inclined to deal the winger's rights rather than lose him for nothing, should he sign there.
Radulov's career with the Predators has been an eventful one. Drafted in the first round (15 overall) by Nashville in 2004, he joined the Predators in the 2006-07 season, scoring 18 goals and 19 assists in 64 games.
He had a breakout season in 2007-08, notching 26 goals and 32 assists in 81 games.
However, Radulov signed a contract with the KHL's Salavat Yulaev Ufa in the off-season despite still owing the Predators a year on his entry-level contract. The deal was disputed by the Predators, who suspended Radulov for the season for leaving for Russia.
He played the next four seasons for Ufa before returning to the Predators on March 22. The team lifted his suspension to allow the 25-year-old to join the team for its playoff push, while simultaneously allowing him to fulfill the final year of his contract by playing just nine regular season games.
While Radulov performed admirably over that span and in the playoffs (four goals and nine assists in 17 combined regular-season and playoff games), Radulov was again suspended by the Predators, this time for breaking curfew.
According to the report, Radulov's preference is to remain in the NHL next season. Rangers general manager Glen Sather is reportedly weighing his options in terms of what it would cost to secure Radulov's rights before he becomes a free agent July 1.
With no collective bargaining agreement currently in place for the 2012-13 NHL season, it is unclear when Radulov would be slated for unrestricted free agency nor what compensation the Predators would receive should he sign with another NHL club. Under the current CBA, Radulov would still be two seasons away from unrestricted free agency.