Alexander Radulov has told a Russian media outlet he has signed a contract with club Salavat Yulaev Ufa in the Continental Hockey League, but his ability to leave the NHL's Nashville Predators may not be clearcut.
Radulov, who has one year left on his deal with Nashville, told the Sport Express in Russia that he wanted to play in his home country and that the offer was much more lucrative.
The right wing said he informed the Predators that the Russian club was making a bid for his services for a second consecutive summer but that he did not hear back from the club.
Nashville president and general manager David Poile said in a release Friday that the team expects Radulov to honour his deal.
"Alex is under contract with the Nashville Predators through the 2008-09 season. We are looking forward to him being here for training camp and being a part of this franchise's success for years to come," Poile said.
Radulov's agent, Jay Grossman, told the Canadian Press he wasn't sure if the deal, reportedly worth $13 million US tax-free over three years, would stand up.
"I would have to defer that to the Nashville Predators and the NHL and the KHL and whoever else is involved," Grossman said on the magazine's website.
Anti-poaching deal reached
Radulov is due to make just under $1 million US in 2008-09 with Nashville, but as a potential restricted free agent after that season figured to be in the running to fetch a much more lucrative offer with another productive campaign.
The timing of Radulov's declaration is curious, at best.
Ufa is one of a number clubs in the former Russian Super League that will join with teams in Belarus, Latvia and Kazakhstan to play in a reformed league, known as the KHL in Russia.
On Thursday, it was announced the NHL, KHL and International Ice Hockey Federation had reached an agreement that leagues would respect existing player contracts regardless of borders.
Radulov scored 26 goals and added 31 assists in 81 games with Nashville this past season, his sophomore campaign. He starred in junior hockey with the Quebec Remparts, racking up 293 points in 163 total games with the 2006 Memorial Cup champions.