Alexander Radulov scored seven points in nine regular season games and six points in eight playoff games for Nashville this past season. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Nashville Predators are hoping to shop the rights of restricted free agent right winger Alexander Radulov, but given his baggage (suspended for missing team curfew during the Coyotes series, possibility of returning to the Kontinental League), it could prove difficult to find a trade partner.
A week after Larry Brooks reported in the New York Post that the Rangers had contacted the Predators regarding Radulov, he followed up on Sunday by writing the Blueshirts interest is “conditional.”
Brooks claimed GM Glen Sather and his staff are weighing Radulov’s potential against alternatives (Columbus’ Rick Nash, Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan, New Jersey’s Zach Parise) that could be available this summer. Brooks also reported one other NHL team might have interest in Radulov.
That club isn’t the Detroit Red Wings. Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press claimed the Wings “don’t have interest” in Radulov, as his positives are offset by the risk and the cost of acquiring his rights.
If there are no takers in the NHL, Radulov will find it easy to return to the KHL.
Peter Adler of the Edmonton Journal recently cited Russian sources claiming CSKA Moscow – whose GM is former NHL great Sergei Fedorov – are highly interested in making offers to Radulov and Washington Capitals unrestricted free agent right winger Alexander Semin.
It’s believed, however, Radulov would prefer to remain in the NHL. He could face having to wait until the late-June/early-July trade and free agent markets settle down, when teams still in need of scoring wingers will come calling.
LEAFS LOOKING TO MOVE UP AT THE DRAFT
The 2012 NHL draft is a little more than a week away and speculation persists over whether the Edmonton Oilers will retain the first overall pick or shop it in hopes of landing a good, established young defenseman.
Steve Simmons of The Toronto Sun reported Sunday the Maple Leafs, who hold the fifth overall pick, would like to move up in the draft order, perhaps by dangling blueliner Luke Schenn as trade bait.
Schenn, 22, already has four NHL seasons under his belt, but was a frequent fixture in the rumor mill this past season and was linked at one point to Philadelphia Flyers left winger James van Riemsdyk.
It’s been suggested Leafs GM Brian Burke wants to make a bold move in this year’s draft, akin to those he made in 1999 when, as GM of the Vancouver Canucks, his wheeling and dealing landed the Sedin Twins.
Perhaps Burke has a big trade up his sleeve, but it might be better used to land an established first-line center, especially if Schenn is to be part of the package.
IS JVR HOLDING UP TRADE TO COLUMBUS?
Speaking of van Riemsdyk, a recent rumor out of Philadelphia claimed the Flyers wanted to include him in a package offer to Columbus for right winger Rick Nash, but ‘JVR’ was delaying surgery for a torn labrum to prevent the trade from happening.
The rumor elicited denials from the respective management of both clubs, with Flyers GM Paul Holmgren claiming not only was van Riemsdyk not being dealt, but a foot infection was the reason behind the delay of his surgery.
This is just another sign rumors of a Nash trade – including the outlandish ones – will only increase as the draft draws near.
LATENDRESSE SYMPTOM-FREE, LOOKING FOR CONTRACT
Minnesota Wild right winger Guillaume Latendresse is reportedly concussion-free and seeking a new deal with the Wild, but there’s no certainty he’ll get one from them.
Concussions and other injuries have limited the 25-year-old to just 27 games over the past two seasons. He’s an RFA July 1, but Latendresse – who earned $2.5 million this past season – doesn’t expect to receive a qualifying offer from the Wild.
Michael Russo of Startribune.com reported Latendresse’s agent, Pat Brisson, met with Wild GM Chuck Fletcher at the recent draft combine and that they would meet again soon.
Russo believes the Wild will cut the winger loose (allowing him to become a UFA), or re-sign him to a one-year, bonus-laden contract. As Latendresse spent more than 100 days on injured reserve this past season, he qualifies for performance bonuses in his next contract.
If the Wild aren’t willing to re-sign him, another club in need of affordable scoring talent may take a chance.
Rumor Roundup appears Monday-Friday only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News, Kukla's Korner and The Guardian, Charlottetown.