The Leafs started their NHL regular season with Kondratiev in the lineup until McCabe returned from his injury, and Maxim played very well during that time. I definitely think he's NHL ready and would be shocked if he didn't crack the Rangers lineup next season.
Didn't Maxim elect to go from St. John's (Maple Leafs) back to his team in Russia? I know this concerned a few people in the Leafs organization. They wondered if he's really ready to play in the NHL. Who knows, he's young. Maybe he was homesick or something.
They sent him down after Bryan McCabe returned from his injury, and there was just no place for him with the Leafs.. Had it been a team with fewer solid defensemen, Kondratiev would've spent the whole year in the NHL..
The contract he signed though, had an option that if he is not recalled back to Toronto after 30 days that he can go back to Russia which is what he did.. That didn't have anything to do with his play though. In St. John's he was the only Russian player, and didn't know a lot of english, so it was pretty hard for him. Despite all that though, I believe he was playing well in the AHL, but didn't like their style there.