Alexander Radulov is headed back to Russia.
This time, though, the Nashville Predators are not wringing their hands over his decision. Basically, they’re waving goodbye.
The agent for the enigmatic forward confirmed to multiple media outlets Monday that Radulov signed a four-year contract with CSKA in the Kontinental Hockey League.
He spent the previous four seasons in the KHL with Ufa Salavat Yulayev, but did so while still under contract with the Predators. Following the 2007-08 season, during which he had 58 points for Nashville, he walked away from the final year of his entry level contract to sign a multi-million dollar deal beginning with the KHL’s first season.
He finally satisfied his Predators contract this year when, following the completion of his season in Russia, he rejoined Nashville for the final nine games of the regular season and the entirety of the playoffs.
He had three goals and four assists in the regular season and tied for the team playoff lead with six points (one goal, five assists) despite the fact that he was suspended one game for missing curfew and benched another during the second-round series with Phoenix.
Nashville general manager David Poile said that the team made an offer to Radulov, a restricted free agent, following the season. He confirmed that the team was unwilling to make a long-term offer due to his previous departure and the off-ice events of the postseason.
Radulov, Nashville’s first round draft choice in 2004, is a two-time most valuable player of the KHL and the league’s all-time leading scorer.
If he ever returns to NHL, it is unlikely it will be with the Predators, who nonetheless retain his rights while he is in Russia.