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|30 сентября 2006
Radulov likely in minors // Tennessean
Preds must drop two by Tuesday
By JOHN GLENNON
Barring a last-minute trade or injury it appears Alexander Radulov, the Predators' top prospect, will begin the season in Milwaukee of the American Hockey League.
Coach Barry Trotz, his staff and General Manager David Poile will meet
following this morning's practice to make final roster decisions, with
the Predators needing to trim to 23 players by Tuesday at 2 p.m.
They currently have 25, but with defenseman Alex Henry (cracked foot bone) likely headed for injured reserve, that number should soon drop to 24.
So why would the highly skilled Radulov, the only Predator to play in all six preseason games, be the last cut?
The Predators already have 14 healthy forwards on one-way NHL contracts. Poile said there are no plans to send any of them to Milwaukee, in part because they'd have to clear NHL waivers.
"All the forwards here had good years last year, and so far in training camp they've done nothing to deserve to lose their jobs,'' Poile said.
Radulov, because of his age (20) and experience, would not have to clear waivers if he's reassigned to Milwaukee.
Might the Predators choose to keep him as a 15th forward? Poile said there's an outside chance it could happen, but odds are it won't.
Nashville has traditionally kept 13 or 14 forwards, and keeping a 15th would allow the Predators just six defensemen. The Predators have a largely inexperienced group of blueliners, so they will almost certainly choose to keep seven for purposes of flexibility.
In addition, keeping 15 forwards means at least three are not playing on a regular basis. The Predators prefer their top prospects to play regularly in Milwaukee instead of getting into the lineup only intermittently on the NHL level.
"We need to do the right thing for the organization,'' Trotz said, "but we need to do the right thing for the players too.''
Assuming Radulov is reassigned to Milwaukee prior to the deadline, it doesn't mean he'll spend all season with the Admirals.
The Predators have had more than their share of injuries over the past few seasons, and Radulov would likely be at the top of the call-up list. And once he got into the Nashville lineup on a regular basis, it might prove difficult to remove him.
Radulov, Nashville's first-round pick in 2004, was impressive in training camp. He collected four points (two goals, two assists) in six games and didn't look out of place on top offensive lines.
"He's an incredible offensive player,'' Predators left wing Paul Kariya said. "He's got a lot of jump, he sees the game well and he's got a great shot.''
If Radulov is the last player reassigned, it means the Predators will be keeping inexperienced defensemen Greg Zanon (four NHL games) and Mikko Lehtonen (no NHL games) until Henry returns.
"I feel good right now, but we'll just wait and see what happens,''
Radulov said. "I just have to keep my chin up and keep working hard.''