Alexander Radulov could be close to returning to the Nashville Predators, ex-Ranger Sean Avery claims he’s retiring, the Blackhawks could re-sign Ray Emery, and the Columbus Blue Jackets might consider shopping their first round pick.
THE TENNESSEAN: Josh Cooper reports Nashville Predators GM David Poile is “cautiously optimistic” over the potential return of Alexander Radulov to the club after a nearly four year absence. Radulov won’t have to clear waivers if he decides to return this season, but Poile said that decision is up to the Russian forward. Cooper also reports some NHL GMs are “uneasy” with the agreement between the NHL and NHLPA to exempt Radulov from waivers, but NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said it wouldn’t make sense to punish a team because a player under contract went AWOL and now might wish to return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those GMs grumbling over this wouldn’t say a word if Radulov were their player. It is a unique situation, one which likely won’t be repeated under the next CBA. I’ve given the NHL plenty of grief over the years for their stunning lack of foresight regarding this CBA, but I’m giving them a pass in this situation. When this CBA was implemented, the KHL didn’t exist, so there was no possibility of a player breaking a contract for a better offer elsewhere. That, of course, changed with the rise of the KHL in 2008. Some have compared this to Alexei Yashin with the Senators in 1999, when he skipped a season over a contract dispute. Yashin, however, was trying to force the Senators into renegotiating his contract, not because he got a better offer overseas as Radulov did.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports former Ranger Sean Avery confirmed his recent comments made on Bravo TV that he was in fact intending to retire at season’s end, moving on to a career in the advertising industry.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Few fans have much love for Avery, but say what you will, his controversial style and comments often generated lots of headlines.
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance recently reported Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman isn’t ruling out re-signing backup goalie Ray Emery, who’s eligible for UFA status at season’s end.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Emery might never become a quality starter again, but he’s definitely been a capable, reliable backup for the Blackhawks this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That shouldn’t be considered unusual. The Blue Jackets are now considering all options to rebuild their club, including the possibility of trading Rick Nash. If that pick could fetch a quality return, why not move it? That being said, I don’t believe the Jackets would just move it for the sake of doing so. They’ll want a good, young player in return at the very least, and if that’s not to be found, they could retain the pick.