Alexander Radulov en route to Nashville; Predators next?

Alexander Radulov is on his way back to Nashville, then likely the NHL, with hopes of leading the Predators to a Stanley Cup title, much to the chagrin of several general managers.
Alexander Radulov, left, soon could be back in a Predators uniform helping the NHL team jockey for playoff position. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Alexander Radulov is on his way back to Nashville, then likely the National Hockey League and Predators, much to the chagrin of several general managers, especially those in the Central Division.

The highly skilled forward snapped a picture of himself on a plane in Russia bound for Tennessee via New York and posted it to Twitter.

Recent reports of Radulov's imminent return irked some GMs after the NHL announced the right-winger could return to the Predators without being subjected to waivers.

That's because Radulov, who bolted Nashville in 2008 for the Kontinental Hockey League, has one year remaining on his entry level contract. The 25-year-old can burn off the final season and get to free agency by playing one game.

After hosting Edmonton on Tuesday, Nashville heads to Pittsburgh to battle Sidney Crosby and the Penguins.

Radulov could be a potential game-changer for a Predators team that was fourth in the Western Conference with a 42-22-8 record entering play Tuesday.

He scored 26 goals as a sophomore in the NHL and went on to become a two-time KHL MVP and Russian Olympian, prompting some to label him the best player outside of North America.

"Fair or unfair, I guess you just have live with the ruling," GM Doug Armstrong of the Central-leading St. Louis Blues said following the recent GMs meetings in Florida. "Bill [Daly, NHL deputy commissioner] and [commissioner] Gary [Bettman] have difficult decisions to make. They felt that this is the acceptable way. He's a suspended player, they're going to lift the suspension and allow him to play.

"We have to just move forward and accept it."

With files from The Associated Press