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303 QUICK POLL: Would you welcome Radulov back?

I know, I know. We got through this every summer.

Like clock work, Nashville Predators fans hear the same thing every off-season: Will defected forward Alexander Radulov return to Music City? This year, more than others, it actually seems like a legit conversation considering NHL writers are getting involved.

Per usual, the speculation started in Nashville. When the Tennessean’s Josh Cooper asked General Manager David Poile about the prospect of Radulov returning, Poile’s response was “What Paul (Fenton, Assistant General Manager) said to him today was very simply, ‘You made lots of money. Is money an issue? You’re the leading scorer in the league, your team won a championship. You think you’re one of the best players in the world. Are you going to come over to the best league and show that? Or are you going to stay in a secondary league.”

Radulov is, quite literally, the piece this team is missing. Well, okay, the type of player he is is. The Preds have never had a scoring left winger, let alone a “sniper.” They almost had one in the 21-year old Radulov as he was right on the cusp of realizing his potental in the National Hockey League. But then he jumped ship despite one year left on his NHL contract to go play hockey in his home country of Russia in 2008. Not only did he defect, he did it after the NHL Draft and after free agency had already started so it left his team high and dry and without a Plan B.

He’s now 24 years old and holds the KHL record for points in a season (80), he’s the league’s all-time assist leader (125), he’s won a Gagarin Cup and he’s even earned league MVP honors. So while he’s gotten even better since he went across the pond, you have to remember that he single-handedly put this organization behind the eight ball for the past few years. Scoring wingers don’t grow on trees. Especially ones who play “Predator hockey.” But here was Radulov, a scary-talented left wing who finally was going to fill the biggest need of the franchise who had grown up in the Nashville organization and was learning how to play “Predator hockey.” But his departure made a lot of his teammates (if not all, off the record) absolutlely irate. His “bailing on his team” was highly frowned upon and it prompted some (former team captain Jason Arnott, for one) to say “it’d be tough” if he ever returned.

Suppose he were to come back next season, the eight players Radulov would have to face in the locker room that donned a Predators sweater when he turned his back on them are as follows:
* JP Dumont (although there are rumors that he’ll be bought out this summer)
* Martin Erat
* Kevin Klein
* David Legwand
* Jerred Smithson
* Ryan Suter
* Jordin Tootoo
* Shea Weber

NOTE: I purposely left goaltender Pekka Rinne off the list because he only appeared in a single game in which Radulov played.

Which begs the question: considering he’s exactly what the Predators need, but also considering how he left the organization high and dry, would you welcome back Alexander Radulov?



  1. Paul Nicholson

    May 14, 2011 at 10:56 am

    In a heartbeat.

    All those platitudes about “it’s a business” that players and GMs spout when a trade or non-signing of a favorite player happens – all that applies here too. It’s a business and this guy is what we need. They all know it. He’ll have some internal and external PR to do, but if he wants to come back, we have to take him. Not much of a choice.

  2. Zack Bennett

    May 14, 2011 at 10:58 am

    YES! Bring him back. Those wounds are a couple of years old now. I’m not sure the chemistry would be a problem. In fact, considering the character of this team, I have a good feeling they would welcome him back with open arms.

  3. Jones-36

    May 14, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I’m kinda over him leaving, so much teasing of him maybe coming back, where I don’t really care one way or the other, it he comes back great, if not business as usual. I guess I’m at the point the Radulov kids are more about themselves than they are anyone thing else, whether it be money or whatever.

  4. Casey

    May 14, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Yes. I think his ability added to this team could go all the way next year. Hopefully
    * JP Dumont
    * Martin Erat
    * Kevin Klein
    * David Legwand
    * Jerred Smithson
    * Ryan Suter
    * Jordin Tootoo
    * Shea Weber
    could get past the personal issues and accept him for the good of the team. It’s a business they are getting paid for. You don’t all have to be best friends off the ice, just willing to work together on the ice.

  5. Tony

    May 14, 2011 at 11:05 am

    I think they should, if he in fact wanted to come back. We need his type of player on the ice. Nashville needs more offense, and from his season with KHL, he knows how to generate it.

  6. Ewan S

    May 14, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Absolutely, with open arms. He was my favourite player before he left. Love his style, a true sniper that our team desperately needs. Really really hope he returns.

  7. taelor

    May 14, 2011 at 11:15 am

    first off, he’s not coming back. and even if he did, I don’t think he’d be as good as everyone thinks. He wouldn’t be the “savior” of our offensive team.

    second, you left out someone on that list, Barry Trotz. Don’t forget he was there too. How do you think he’ll react?

  8. linc77

    May 14, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Yes.what have we got to lose. its not like Weber wont be able to straighten him out should he mess up lol

  9. DanDBradley

    May 14, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Welcome back? no. Accept him back? YES.

    If you asked me a year or two ago, I would’ve said no. Now the leadership on this team is stronger than ever, Trotz has an even more firm grip on the team and is known as one of the NHL’s favorite coaches, and the team has shown they can be successful without him.

    He won the biggest prize back home and he still isn’t content. C’mon back.

    If nothing else, David Poile has a nice big piece of tradebait to work with.

  10. hunter

    May 14, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    this team needs to improve our offense by any means necessary if it means bringing back radulov, then I’m all for it

  11. Zack

    May 14, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    I welcome his talents back. I think the leadership is firm enough that it would keep him straight. He has to buy back into the Predator Way if it’s going to be a good fit.

    That said, on paper–YES. BRING HIM BACK. All the Preds need is a consistent scoring presence, and Raddy is that.

  12. Scott

    May 14, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    GIVE ME RADULOV!!!!! This team is poised for something special. He may be the missing piece. Bailed or not, this team needs what he offers. DO IT POILE!

  13. Kathy

    May 14, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    As long as the guys on the ice are ok with him & it doesn’t cause locker room drama… I’m ok with it.

  14. John

    May 14, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Sure, but it would take him at least a yr to get back in stride with the team…due to ego and hard feelings.

  15. Jacob

    May 15, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Yes, yes and yes. His skill set and salary = what this team needs.

  16. Ryan Smith

    May 15, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I agree with Kathy. Who are we to say he should or shouldn’t be welcomed? If DP, BT and the boys are ok with him back then make it happen. We could use his offense. I’m all for it.

  17. Erik

    May 15, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I would absolutely love it if Rad came back!!

  18. Matt

    May 15, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Our goaltending has always been amazing. Scoring, on the other hand, seems to consistently be a struggle. I remember watching Radulov play and it was exciting every time. I also remember how angry I felt when he jumped ship. Having said all those things, I want a Stanley Cup for our Predators! I think adding Radulov back to the team could be a great way to help make that happen. The gamble is in whether or not the tension which may remain with his former teammates will effect things on the ice. Ultimately, I am willing to take that gamble if it means we give our offense a needed boost.

  19. Megan Wright

    May 16, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Welcome him back? Absolutely not! Accept him back? Yes.

  20. Robert

    May 16, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush!… if it can be worked out heck yeh take Rads current salary next season and all is forgotten… Then at the end of the season next year after he scores 40 goals in regular season, then 12 more in playoffs and we win the cup, negotiate his new salary or trade him…and we get to do that cool Van Halen rip off song again!

  21. Fletcher

    May 16, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    He was getting better every game when he was with the Preds. Now they say he is better than before. This kid has outstanding talent. I was as mad as the next Preds fan when he left. But I’m a die hard fan and I can forgive and forget and move closer to the Stanley Cup! Radulov needs to first and foremost apologize for his departure not only to his teammates of the past but the ones in the locker room this year who could have used him in the absence of our injured forwards. It WOULD have made and impact. If Poile gets him back I would also sign an extended 3 year term with him with a no “departure clause” written in the contract. The last thing we need is for this kid to come back and leave to another team one year later and DOMINATE in this league which he is completely capable of doing. With all that said. I still have my #47 jersey hanging in my closet waiting for his prodigal return. Let the good times roll.

  22. Brian

    May 18, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    although he is a amazing player and i would love a player of that caliber i dont want a player who will just get up and leave for more money what happens when 2 years when he gets back he gets some crazy offer from some Finnish team ? them boom we are up the creek without a pattle …. again . if only we could find a loyal sniper/dangler who will play predator hockey. that could get us multiple cups .

  23. Robert Curtis

    May 22, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Let’s just put it like this: If he were to come back (which I don’t see happening), I would regard it with cautious optimism, I’d welcome him back if the team and Trotzy did willingly, otherwise I’d be OK with selling him off to someone else.

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