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Radulov to Russia Story Keeps Moving Forward

UPDATE (2:30 p.m.): Ken Campbell at the Hockey News has an update with more details. Apparently the contract is for 3 years, $13 million, which, since it is tax-free, is roughly equivalent to $18 million over here. It sounds like Jay Grossman, Radulov's agent, didn't negotiate this deal, so he's off the hook in terms of professional violations. The IIHF, through a spokesman, indicated that the CHL will be directed to void the contract, but who knows how this will eventually shake out. The least likely option, however, would seem to involve a happy and productive Radulov scoring goals at the Sommet Center this fall.

The "Radulov to Russia" story keeps gathering steam, folks. Greg Whyskhginsky! (err... the Puck Daddy) over at Yahoo chimes in with excerpts from an interview that is to appear tomorrow in Sovetsky Sport. Some of these quotes are just plain doozies:

Were you expecting a new contract offer from Nashville?

"Yes. By the way, I informed the management of the Predators that I had good offers in Russia. My contract with the Predators is valid for another year. But I wanted some certainty now. For example, Malkin in Pittsburgh had his contract extended a year before the previous one was set to expire.

For Radulov to expect the same treatment as Malkin received is absurd. Malkin played at a near-MVP level this year for a team that made it to the Stanley Cup Finals. Radulov is still on the way up, and with a 30-goal campaign in 2008-9, could have brought in huge money in his 2nd contract. It seems especially strange that the estimate in the article is that he'll make "no less than $3 million per year" over in Russia. I'm guessing he could have gotten much more than that in a new deal next summer.

What I wonder is what role Radulov's representative's Puck Agency, played in all of this, and how this deal might affect their ability to negotiate with NHL general managers for their other clients. Who would trust an agent that helps a player escape a binding NHL contract to head overseas? I've put a message into that organization to try and get a response, but haven't heard back yet.

By the way, Nashville fans, there is this:
What would you like to tell Nashville fans?

"Thank you very much! It was such a pleasure playing for the Predators in the last two years. There is no one to blame for what has happened. But it happened that our paths have separated. I am going to play in Russia now. No one knows what the future will hold. And I wish the Predators to win the Stanley Cup!"

I'm guessing Preds fans won't be so jovial about this development. It's looking more like he'll be remembered as the biggest turncoat in franchise history, let alone the NHL. It would be one thing if he finished his contract and left as a free agent, but to skip out in the middle of a deal (rightly) rubs fans the wrong way.

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