As I get more bored at work, I check out more and more fans, across the beat writer blogs and fan blogs, that are just overjoyed to “be rid” of Nikolai Zherdev. This is not another post about why the Rangers still need Zherdev, I already wrote something about that, no need to beat the topic to death. My specialty is financial analysis of the business of hockey, so let’s start with that.
Bear in mind, all of this is dependent on the outcome of his arbitration hearing. He’s not going to get the $3.25 million the Rangers qualified him at, he will be awarded much more. If you look at the raw numbers, he was one of the top three scorers on the team last year. Sure, he has his lapses, but Tortorella is not one to let those go unaccountable, but with Naslund and Gomez gone, if the Rangers lose Zherdev, they lose all of those top three scorers from last season.
But I digress, that isn’t the point of this post.
Zherdev is good for 60 points a year, which is pretty decent for a 2nd line wing. But let’s compare this to market value. Oh wait, Mike did that already. If you don’t want to read all that, I’ll sum it up right now. Zherdev’s output puts him in the same class as Dustin Brown (6 years/$19 million), Martin Erat (7/$31.5 mil), and Derek Roy (6/$24 mil). The average of those deals is 6/$24.8 mil, which amounts to $4.13 million annually.
Say all you want about overpaying, and not worth it, and quitting, and whatever else negative you have to say. You just simply CAN NOT argue with market value. Want a more recent case? Nik Antropov got $4 million a year, and they are almost identical players, and they put up identical numbers.
Zherdev is a frustrating player. He showcases all-world talent, sometimes. But he’s cheaper and/or better than any of the other options available (Heatley, Tanguay, Koivu, insert UFA here). This point seems to be lost amongst the Blueshirt Faithful. (Note: and/or means one or the other or both, so nothing about “you think Zherdev is better than Heatley?!?!” Clearly no. But he’s cheaper.)
Market value is $4 million. That’s it, case closed. If he gets less, consider it a huge win for the Rangers. In the mean time, Zherdev is still a member of the New York Rangers.