A few years ago I was sitting on my porch when I received a phone call from a good friend of mine saying that Alexander Radulov was leaving the Preds, and bolting off to Russia for the KHL. My first thought was wow, really? I buy your jersey 2 months ago and now you leave?(I still to this day will not buy a Shea Weber jersey no matter how badly I'd like to. Call me superstitious. That's something I'm not going to take a chance on.) My second thought that came into my mind was simply how can he legally do that? He was under contract with the Predators. Surely he can't just leave. Well it turns out that once you get to Russia, they have a hard time letting you come back. There are rumors that after this upcoming season in the KHL(when his contract expires. Funny how he wants to honor this one.), he might make a return to the Nashville Predators. Do we want him to come back? How will the locker room accept him if he does come back? How much money would he be worth? For starters, I'd really have no problem with having him back. The guy is a talent. The Predators have never had a player anything like Alexander Radulov. He's creative with the puck, he's got the skills of a good finisher, and he's still young. Now, he has a maturity problem that would have to be sorted out. That's where I'll start with the next question. Would the locker room want him back? I think they would. Granted, they'd have to have a serious closed-door talk with him and he'd have to gradually earn their trust back, but I think the players would definitely take him back since he'd be able to help this team. As far as how much money he'd be worth, I wouldn't give him an outrageous amount. The level of competition that he's been at the last few years simply isn't NHL level(although it might be fairly soon if players keep going over there). Make him prove himself for a year or two and then try to structure up an agreement.
Game 1 of the 2010-2011 season is Saturday night. Don't forget to show up early for warm-ups. One game at a time for 60 minutes. If the boys do that on a consistent basis, we're looking at a very successful season. More so than any other season we've ever had. It all comes down to leadership, maturity, and focus. Do the boys have enough focus to get through every game and play at a high level? If so, the sky is the limit.
The Preds traded Ryan Parent and Jonas Andersson yesterday for Shane O'Brien and a prospect. Interesting decision by Poile. O'Brien is a tough guy but sometimes is a little too overly aggressive. I do, however, like this move from Poile. I mean what can you say? Poile and the new ownership are serious about winning, and winning right now. Now all we have to do is take it one game at a time. And it starts on Saturday night.