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2010 NHL Free Agency: Nikolai Zherdev is officially a Philadelphia Flyer

Jul 9, 2010, 6:10 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for zherdev.jpgThe Philadelphia Flyers confirmed today’s rumors; they signed Nikolai Zherdev to a one-year contract. It’s unclear what his salary/cap hit will be just yet. Update via CSN Philly: word is that Zherdev’s cap hit will be $2 million. Not bad.

Earlier today, I discussed that signing the hit-or-miss Russian to a one-year contract makes a lot more sense than the previous rumors of a multi-year pact. It’s too early to call the deal a “slam dunk” without knowing the financial terms, but I’m generally OK with teams taking single season risks.

Here’s more from GM Paul Holmgren and the Flyers.

“Nik is a highly-skilled player who, at 25-years-old, we feel will be a good fit to our core of forwards,” said Holmgren. “Prior to playing last season in Russia, Nik ranked as one of the top young point-producers in the NHL. We are pleased to add him to our team.”

Zherdev, 25, appeared in 52 games with Atlant-Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League in 2009-10 where he recorded 39 points (13G,26A) and 79 penalty minutes during the regular season. He led the team in penalty minutes (79), while also finishing second on the team in assists (26) and third in points (39) this past season.

In 2008-09, his last season in the National Hockey League, he recorded 58 points (23G,35A) and 39 penalty minutes and appeared in all 82 regular season games with the New York Rangers. He led all Rangers in goals (23) and tied for the team lead in points (58), while finishing second on the club in assists (35).

Of course, there is a good chance that signing the right-handed winger will force someone else out, with the most popular rumor being Simon Gagne. At their peaks, I’d say that Gagne is actually the more talented player, but Zherdev is younger, less injury-prone and might come at a cheaper price. Those factors make the Flyers appear fairly logical.

I’ll update this post once I find out financial details. Until then, let me ask you: is Zherdev worth the risk? Let us know in the comments.

  1. Nuttshack - Jul 9, 2010 at 6:33 PM

    As a Flyer’s fan since I was a kids in the late 70’s. I have mixed feeling, because I have been a huge Gagne fan. Especially the way he played against Boston and Montreal.
    He was a huge non factor in the finals. And injuries have been a problem. I am hoping the Flyer’s can find a way to keep him, but I like the youth movement with the offense.
    It sux but it is what it is; and we will wait to see what happens!

  2. CJ - Jul 9, 2010 at 11:33 PM

    I don’t know why there’s all this talk of Gagne being the odd man out. It makes no sense. Their biggest weakness (aside from arguably goalie) is scoring on the wing.
    They have many talented Centers. Briere proved he’s far better at center than the wing, plus Richards and Carter. And Carter proved in the playoffs he can’t play the wing, and only has a year left on his deal. Richards won’t go anywhere.
    My guess is Carter is the odd man out. They don’t like his attitude, he’s on the last year of his deal, and his ability should bring back more in a deal than Gagne ever could.

  3. JCHFlyers - Jul 10, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    I’d like to see Gagne remain, also. And I’d echo the sentiment about Gagne really showing up to play against Montreal and Boston. However, I can rationalize that his price tag may be too high for the value he (currently) brings to the table.
    If they could re-work his contract and keep everybody on the roster, that’d be ideal, but I certainly don’t envision that happening. Regarding the signing of Zherdev specifically, I think it’s a good move given the terms of the deal.

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