Could Marek Zagrapan get Radulov-ed out of Buffalo?
Some interesting news for the Sabres as the Nashville-KHL Alexander Radulov saga continues, center Marek Zagrapan is currently participating in a two week training camp with KHL team HC Spartak Moscow.
Slovo dostal aj Marek Zagrapan, ešte stále útočník Buffala Sabres, takže jeho prítomnosť vo výprave spartakovcov bola maličkým prekvapením. „Minulý týždeň som bol na prípravnom kempe nováčikov v Buffale, no hneď po návrate domov mi zavolal agent a spýtal sa ma, či neskúsim aj prípravu s týmto ruským mužstvom. Privolil som, lebo si myslím, že mi môže dať veľa.“
Okay, the story is written in Slovak. So I don’t know what it says. It was posted over on HFBoards, and apparently, it doesn’t say much about Zagrapan’s status, other than that he’s rooming with one of my personal favorite hockey names, Branko Radivojevic.
Zagrapan, 21, has one year remaining on his entry-level contract, and is eligible to be a restricted free agent next summer.
It’s unclear what recourse the Sabres would have if he signed with the club. The Sabres own his rights and he’s under contract, so with the new NHL-KHL truce agreement, I doubt he’ll get signed. The Radulov thing happened prior to the agreement, but it’s unclear if Nashville will be able to do anything about it.
Zagrapan’s departure could prove to create a sticky situation for the Sabres. While he has yet to get a look in the NHL, it appears Zagrapan is the first in line out of Portland if a forward is needed. He is the top center in the system, and seems to be taking his damn sweet time developing (a la Jiri Novotny), so if he does stay with the Sabres, his window is starting to close.
Inconsistent play has kept him from getting a taste of the big league, and with guys like Nathan Gerbe and Tim Kennedy now coming up behind him, it won’t be long that he’ll have the chance to be first in line. For now, until those new guys get some AHL experience, Marek seems to be the only guy that might be ready. (I refuse to accept the fact that Dylan Hunter is capable of playing in the NHL, but I digress…)
We’ll keep an eye on this, but an interesting little development as the offseason wears on.