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Locking up Z Long Term

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.

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