Article 13-23 of the CBA states:
In the event a professional or former professional Player plays in a league outside North America after the start of the NHL Regular Season, other than on Loan from his Club, he may thereafter play in the NHL during that Playing Season (including Playoffs) only if he has first either cleared or been obtained via Waivers. For the balance of the Playing Season, any such Player who has been obtained via Waivers may be Traded or Loaned only after again clearing Waivers or through Waiver claim.Pretty cut and dried: As a player who was playing in the KHL on a non-loan arrangement, Radulov should be caught by this section (his combination of NHL games played and age mean that he is no longer protected by an exemption).
You can bet the most incensed GM has to be Detroit's Ken Holland, for two reasons:
1. When the Red Wings signed Evgeni Nabokov last year, he was claimed by the Islanders off waivers on this very same rule (Nabokov had played in Europe earlier in the season).
2. The Red Wings are almost certain to face the Predators in the first round of the playoffs.
You can bet Ken Holland is spending his day yelling at Gary Bettman and Bill Daly and anyone else who will listen. This could get messy (though it would be tricky, as the NHL, not the teams, is the signatory to the CBA). Exempting the Preds from a waiver rule that was enforced just a year ago is pretty greasy stuff.