As per Larry Brooks, the Rangers have begun contract talks with Nikolai Zherdev. Zherdev, who will be an RFA after this year, is in the final year of his 3 year/$7.5 million contract signed while with Columbus. The Rangers appear to be happy with Zherdev, and Zherdev appears to be happy in New York:
“I’m very happy here. I like the team. I like the guys. I like living here. Everything is good.”
The Rangers would be doing themselves a service by locking him up now instead of waiting until the end of the year. By waiting, they take the risk of allowing a team with minimal cap commitments (such as the Islanders) to offer Zherdev a huge contract.
Zherdev is by far the most skilled player on the team, and at 24, he’s just going to get better. Locking him up long term would be a much needed terrific move by Sather.