As Dmitry Chesnokov noted last week, Alex Radulov will return to the Nashville Predators as soon as his KHL team, Salavat, is guaranteed that it still holds his rights while he plays in the NHL.
At this point, the best that can be said is that an agreement is likely to be reached soon — but that doesn't mean Predators Coach Barry Trotz can't get excited about it.
Sport-Express in Russia was the latest media outlet to say Radulov is "most likely" headed back to the NHL; upon hearing that, Trotz was all giddy when speaking with Josh Cooper of The Tennessean:
"It will be huge," Trotz said. "It gives us a deeper lineup. He's a world class player and a world class talent. One thing Rad does is he's passionate about winning and scoring goals and being a top player.
"I think it's great timing this week. Hopefully he gets here quick enough. I don't expect him to play against the Edmonton Oilers (Tuesday) but I'd like to see him in Pittsburgh (Thursday), if everything is correct."
Again, nothing concrete yet. But you can't help but feel the Predators' thoughts on this have gone from optimistic to expectant.