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Alexei Yashin’s NHL comeback: Possibility or negotiating ploy?

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It must be that time of the year again. The weather is warm, the pools are crowded and Alexei Yashin's agent is making noise about an NHL comeback.

Almost a year to the day from the last time they floated the idea, Alexei Yashin and his agent are talking about the player's return to the League he left in 2007.

Last year, Yashin's agent Mark Gandler said the following:

"There is a club that is constantly showing interest in him. It is the New York Islanders. Alexei has a great relationship with its owner. That's why if he decides to come back to the NHL, then he will first have negotiations just with [the NYI owner]."

The situation is about the same this year. Alexei Yashin's now-former KHL club SKA St. Petersburg decided not to extend a contract with the player, and Yashin is back on the market.

He is very highly thought of in the KHL and most probably will have no problem finding a club. KHL outsider Avtomobilist from Pavel Datsyuk's hometown of Ekaterinburg is reportedly showing interest.

But according to Gandler, the NHL is still an option for Yashin in 2011, saying that the former New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators star has already received an offer to return to the League.

This is what Gandler told Sergei Begishev of Sovetsky Sport today:

Is there an interest in Alexei from the NHL?

"We have already received one offer."

From the Islanders?

"I will not discuss what the club is. We are considering the expediency of the offer."

Gandler added:

"We will meet with Alexei this week for the first time. We will discuss everything. We are not in a hurry. At this moment we have not had any serious negotiations with any club. It would have been unreasonable to do that until we are sure that everything is good health wise. As far as the leagues are concerned, we will look at both sides [the NHL and the KHL]."

Alexei Yashin has been recovering from a knee injury the last few months and had treatment in Switzerland, according to reports. Mark Gandler confirmed that Yashin has fully recovered from that injury and is ready to play.

As for Yashin himself, he couldn't shed any more light on the situation:

"It is very important for me to be able to help a team to be more successful. Yes, Avtomobilist is one of the options for my career. I am not ready to discuss anything further."

This may be just a negotiation ploy. It is highly unlikely, to say the least, that Alexei Yashin will come back to the NHL ... unless he finds Doc Brown's DeLorean.

At the same time, if true that there is an offer from the NHL, and he does indeed come back, it could be the talk of the season.

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