As KH is going to qualify him, I really think this is the best outcome for the wings. If we had signed him, he would have got picked up off waivers for some bottom feeder with an imbalanced roster, while earning league minimum, and bouncing between the NHL and AHL while learning the ropes. This way he gets to earn good money and be guaranteed high level games, and we get to keep his rights rather than losing him for nothing.
The staff all seem to agree that he was ready skill-wise and smarts-wise, but not physically. So this way they get to keep an eye on him while he develops, and if he ever manages to put on the extra 20-25 lbs that would make him big enough to play in the NHL for one not so tall or quick, we get first dobs. Indeed that way things were spoken of by AA and the wings brass suggests that this is an outcome that suits both parties and that both aniticipated and to a degree planned for.
He really is an incredibly smart player, but was so small when he started that he is still too small with his limited size increase..this was shown in the AHL playoffs where 2 years in a row he got injured (although both hits were very late and dirty as hell and should have led to suspensions). If you are a go to puck mover you have to be able to take the inevitable punishment aimed at you better than he currently can. If he gets to 26 and weighs 195, it would be great to bring him back, as a PP QB he is undoubtedly better than anyone on the big club not called Kronwall and any of the prospects bar Sproul. He didn't look out of place at NHL level, but his small frame meant they had to keep him sheltered, and more so than was reasonable long term. I, like many others, feel that if you are going to shelter Kindl's lack of intensity and Lashoff's lack of ability, then perhaps it was worth giving AA more games to see how he would cope, but then this is expecting too much from a coach that won't play Smith on the powerplay, thinks that Abledakder is a viable top line option rather than an effective occasional plug in, and seems determined to not keep or re-unite effective lines. (I still can't get over putting legwand on the 4th line when the two players he had chemistry with, Nyquist and Franzen, were struggling).
It doesn't indicate that, "get an opportunity to play" indicates that some players especially younger guys would prefer to play in the KHL then in the minors. But your right most guys that have tasted the NHL don't leave unless they are forced to ( take the hint: Cleary), but now and again you do see some younger players go play in Russia or threaten to go back to Sweden. Doesn't mean they are not good enough to play in the NHL, players like to use the KHL as leverage, but sometimes I think they're bluff gets called and at that particular moment some of them prefer to go overseas for a couple years. They can make more than in the minors and can come back at any time. Taking out the fact that Radulov is Russian, the guy is getting paid something like 9 mil to play in the KHL, I too doubt that his childhood dream was to play in Russia, but he's not approaching 9 mil at the NHL level, so why not.
Worked out ok for Hudler!