Originally written on Inside Smashville  |  Last updated 11/20/14

DALLAS - JANUARY 23: Western Conference YoungStar Alexander Radulov of the Nashville Predators poses for a portrait at the American Airlines Center on January 23, 2007 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Nashville Predators traveled to Pittsburgh on Thursday afternoon with a new addition to the lineup. Alexander Radulov officially rejoined the Predators and had his suspension lifted by the team. Playing the remainder of this season will fulfill the last year of his entry-level contract. Radulov will be a restricted free agent on July 1st.

Drafted 15th overall in 2004, Radulov played for the Predators for two seasons between 2006-08 before the right wing left for the Kontinental Hockey League to play for Salavat Yulaev Ufa. Radulov went on to win the KHL scoring title in 2010-11 and 2011-12.

At practice on Wednesday morning, Radulov skated on a line with Patric Horqnvist and David Legwand. While there is much anticipation surrounding the return of the Russian forward, Legwand admits it might take a couple of practices before Radulov is fully up to speed. However, Legwand, who played on a line with Radulov four years ago, says he will find chemistry with himself and Hornqvist.

“He came from the big ice in Europe,” Legwand said. “The rinks are smaller over here. Coming into the playoff race is going to be a little hard. He will adjust and move forward pretty quickly.”

Hornqvist has never played with Radulov before Wednesday morning, but was instantly impressed with the forward’s talent. Hornqvist also dismissed Radulov’s previous decision to bolt Nashville for the KHL in the summer of 2008.

“I think he is going to fit into the locker room great, and our team too,” Hornqvist said. “What happened in the past is in the past. We are looking forward, and I am really looking forward to playing with him.”

When Radulov left Nashville, there was some bad blood between the then 21-year old and some of the more veteran players on the team. Legwand notes that the players who took issue with Radulov are no longer Predators and that the team is focused on winning.

“The group that was mad at him before he left us have kind of wittered out of here. We are going to need him down the stretch to play his best and that is all we can ask of him,” he said.

As for Radulov himself, the newest addition to the Predators is excited to be back in Nashville, stating he always liked it in Music City, and maintains everyone now shares one goal.

“I talked to the guys. We understand each other. Now we are on the same team, on the same page. We need to go out there and do our job. I hope they will help me do my best and help the team,” he said.

Whether or not the dynamic forward plays on Thursday night is still up in the air. Head Coach Barry Trotz is going to leave it up to Radulov to decide if he plays against the Penguins or not. The decision will likely be made after morning skate on Thursday.

“I felt not bad on the ice but was not on top of it. For 10 days, I’ve been out of the playoffs in Russia and didn’t skate, and with the flight and the time change, everything has come together,” Radulov explained. “It was a little bit hard at the beginning [of practice]. We will see after morning skate and go from there.”

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