Archive for Nik Zherdev


Rangers Talking to Zherdev

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In what may come to many as a surprise, the Rangers are currently in talks with Nik Zherdev regarding a return to the NHL. Genadi Boguslavski of the Sovetsky Sport broke this via Twitter, and states that the Rangers have begun talks with the enigmatic winger to return to the NHL. Let’s chalk this one up as a rumor for now.

Zherdev, who led the Rangers in scoring with a line of 23-35-58 in the 2008-2009 season, fell out of favor with fans after his disappearing act in the last month of the season and the playoffs against Washington. The Rangers, who are currently extremely thin on RW, offered Zherdev $3.25 million in the offseason, with Zherdev wanting closer to $4.5 million. An arbitrator awarded Zherdev the medium, at $3.9 million, to which the Rangers walked away, making him an unrestricted free agent. With no market for him, Zherdev reportedly attempted to return to the Rangers for the original $3.25 million, but the Rangers turned him away. Zherdev then bolted for the KHL.

Zherdev would provide some nice complimentary scoring for Marian Gaborik, and would give the Rangers a very nice 1-2 punch on the RW. It would also take some of the pressure off of Gaborik, who seemed to be the only consistent scorer on the Rangers this past season. At the right length and price, the Rangers, and their fans, should welcome back Zherdev. It is highly unlikely, considering how the negotiations went in 2009, that Zherdev gets a multi-year deal. Market value puts him right around the $3 million -$3.5 million range, but with little negotiating power on his side, it is highly possible that Zherdev signs for under that amount.

Update 2:55pm: Steve Zipay is tweeting that the Rangers have denied this rumor.


Rangers Interested in Zherdev?

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It seems that Nik Zherdev could be returning to the Rangers for next season. According to Laurie Carr of Beyond the Blueshirts, Rangers General Manager Glen Sather has spoken with Team Russia Assistant Coach Andrei Nazarov about three KHL players that the Rangers reportedly have interest in:

The Rangers do have three prospects who’s rights they currently own playing in the KHL — Ivan Baranka, Pavel Valentenko and Mikhail Pashnin — but Nazarov’s comment seems to suggest the players in question are players who’s rights the Rangers do not yet own.

The article’s author, Igor Larin, fuels speculation by including the the following (unsourced) note after Nazarov’s comment: “According to some reports, the president of the Rangers is interested in Nikolai Zherdev from Atlant.”

The Rangers offered Zherdev $3.25 million when last season ended, and Zherdev was looking for a salary in the neighborhood of $4.5 million. A neutral arbitrator settled in the middle, awarding Zherdev $3.9 million, a number that the Rangers walked away from, making Zherdev an unrestricted free agent. The Rangers read the market correctly on this one, as no one came near that asking price for the enigmatic winger. Eventually, the Zherdev came back to the Rangers, willing to play for $3.25 million, but the Rangers moved on and acquired Ales Kotalik. We all know how great that one turned out.

Zherdev is already rumored to be interested in coming back to the NHL for next season. So this is not that far fetched. With cap space severely limited, and the Rangers in desperate need of secondary scoring, a cheaper Nik Zherdev would be a good fit for this team at the right price. Considering what Zherdev has consistently put up in his career (25 goals, 60 points), a number around $3 million might work for both parties. While many fans won’t be thrilled to see this acquisition, people need to separate emotions from production. This is a great fit for the organization.

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Where Sather Went Right: The Zherdev Deal

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Part One.

In the past week, I wrote three pieces on where GM Glen Sather went wrong during his stay in New York, post-lockout. I received a few emails and some comments about being biased and not pointing out where Sather went right, so let’s consider the next three posts to be spin-offs: Where Sather went right. It is obvious that Slats’ weakness is reading markets and finding comparable market value for free agents, and sometimes this overshadows his other moves that turned the Rangers from laughing stock into playoff contender.

In the 2008 offseason, the Rangers made plenty of moves, including the signing of Wade Redden and Dmitri Kalinin, and the re-signing of Michal Rozsival and Paul Mara. Include those with the other Rangers blue liners, and all of a sudden, the Rangers had a glut of defensemen, and not many forwards that could put the puck in the net. On July 1, 2008, the Rangers traded Fedor Tyutin and Christian Backman for Nik Zherdev (and Dan Fritsche).

Tyutin was a solid, young defenseman that hit people and could chip in offensively from time to time, and Zherdev was an offensively gifted player that seemed to have run his course in Columbus. The Rangers were dealing from a strength (blue line depth) to address a severe weakness that was left with the departure of Jaromir Jagr. That is how a good GM fills holes on the team; dealing from a strength to address a weakness.

Although Zherdev’s stay in New York was enigmatic at best, few could deny his ability. When he wanted to be, Zherdev was a game-breaker. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the mind to go with the ability, and it left Rangers fans frustrated. As for Tyutin, he had a great season in Columbus last year, putting up solid offensive numbers while playing the good defense us in New York had become accustomed to. This year, he is still contributing offensively, but that defense has slipped a bit.

What isn’t widely publicized about Zherdev is that after the Rangers walked away from his $3.9 million arbitration award, he came back to Slats, asking to play for the initial $3.25 million contract the Rangers offered prior to arbitration. The Rangers said no, and Zherdev bolted for the KHL. (Note: I’m still looking for the Larry Brooks article that mentions this, I can’t find it. If someone can point me in the direction, it would be greatly appreciated.) Thanks to BSBer Kathy, who found the link. You can view the article here.

I, for one, would have liked to see Zherdev with the Rangers for at least one more year. I think Zherdev at one year, $3.25 million was a much safer bet than Ales Kotalik at three years, $9 million (a deal which I hated from the start). It is very tough to give up on someone so talented and so young after just one season. Zherdev’s presence would have given the Rangers two legitimate scoring lines, something that Kotalik’s presence does not give.

For whatever reason it was, the Nikolai Zherdev stay in New York was unsuccessful. That does not take away from the fact that the trade for Zherdev was a solid trade that needed to get made. Strong teams are made by dealing from a strength to address a weakness. That’s exactly what this trade was, and that’s why it will be a solid trade when analyzed from an at-the-time perspective.

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In some unsurprising news, Carp passes along a report that former Blueshirt Nik Zherdev is indeed heading home to Mother Russia to play in the KHL next year. The translated article doesn’t say much, but there’s enough there to get the point across that Nik will join Yulaev Salavat Ufa, a team that also features former Rangers Vlad Vorobiev (remember him?) and Dmitri Kalinen.

Update: Turns out he isn’t heading to the KHL, yet anyway. Via Beyond the Blueshirts, Zherdev’s agent basically denied the report.

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Zherdev Gets $3.9 Million

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Stick-tap to BSBer Jordan for tipping me off to this.

Andrew Gross is reporting that Nikolai Zherdev was awarded $3.9 million in his arbitration case. Not to pat myself on the back, but I had him cashing in at $3.85 million, I was damn close.

The Rangers will probably be able to field some decent trade offers for Zherdev, as it has been made clear they have no intentions of keeping him. A 60-point scorer, who is just 24, and is relatively cheap at $3.9 million (see: market value) will definitely net you at least a 3rd round pick, maybe even a B level prospect too. They are at a negotiating disadvantage though, as the league knows they don’t plan on keeping him.

The Rangers will walk from this, either by trade or just by cutting him loose.

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MSG Unit Spins Off, Zherdev Hearing Today

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Sorry for the lack of updates yesterday, I was running around all day and didn’t have a change to put up a post.

In what should have been an expected move, Cablevision spun off the MSG Unit into its own entity. James Dolan will still be in charge of this unit, so no “reprieve” there. I put reprieve in quotes, because you really have to be careful what you wish for (see post below for details). This doesn’t mean much for the Rangers, it’s just a re-arrangement of the businesses themselves. I don’t know if there’s going to be a stock offering on the MSG Unit, I doubt it though.

Wow I ran off topic.

Anyway, the moral of the story here is that it doesn’t affect the Rangers at all.

Today is the long-awaited Nikolai Zherdev arbitration hearing. By the end of the day we should know what the Rangers will do with Zherdev. My guess, he gets awarded $3.85 million, the Rangers accept. As for the next step, I believe Zherdev will accept too, and Zherdev will at least be given a shot to prove his worth. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Zherdev involved in a deadline deal somewhere.

Oh, and for all of you wanting the 39 year old Sergei Zubov back in blue, sorry, but he signed with the KHL.

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The Zherdev Saga Continues

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This has got to be the most over-publicized, most over-analyzed, and generally most annoying saga for a SIXTY point scorer. Listen, I like Zherdev, and really wanted him back next year (instead of Kotalik), but for this to continue to grab our attention, it’s just absurd. This will be my last post on this until the result of his hearing comes out (barring significant moves).

This is a bit old, as it came out a week ago. Apparently Zherdev, in an interview with a Russian journalist, is extremely confident that an arbitrator will rule in his favor, and believes that his run in NY is over. The interview is in Russian and can be read here. The translation is at Beyond the Blueshirts, but I just picked out the important parts:

And what kind of contract will suit you? Would you agree on five million a year?

– First of all, I would like to sign a long-term agreement with the club, for 3-4 years. To have some semblance of stability. As for the number — the bigger the number on the contract, the better.

Since you’re already familiar with life there, have you thought about remaining overseas after your career ends?

– No, life in America doesn’t suit me. The difference in mentality is too great between us. I dreamed of getting to the NHL for many years. My dream came true. But now, as soon as the season finishes, I’m immediately drawn to Kiev. All my family is there. The NHL is just a job.

I recall an incident last season when you came to blows on the ice with Steven Stamkos of Tampa. Why were you so upset with the first pick in the 2008 draft?

– He hit me from behind. How else would a normal person react? I could have suffered a concussion. Or become disabled. Adding to my annoyance was that the referee, most likely, slept through the incident. He decided, at least, that Stamkos hit me without breaking the rules. So I fought for the first time in the NHL. I vaguely remember that I fought with him for a few seconds, but then both of us fell down.

Ok, the last question really isn’t that important, but I thought it was amusing to read Zherdev call out refs while talking about his first fight.


All the debate over the head case of Nikolai Zherdev should be put to rest. He’s not a head case, he’s just all about the money. This is a job for him, his heart is in Russia. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. It’s his life. But it’s safe to assume that he will be in the KHL really, really soon, maybe even by next season. He is a very skilled, very homesick player. He met his dream of being in the NHL, but winning isn’t all that important to him. There is nothing wrong with that, but it’s not what the Rangers, or we as fans, want.

I do not say good riddance to Zherdev, he was an exciting player to watch, and if he ever decides to care, can be electric in this league. I say to him good luck, I hope the KHL doesn’t fold, and I hope you get your $5 million a year.

Granted, I would have preferred Slats deal Tyutin for someone who was actually going to be here for more than a year, but beggars can’t be choosers.

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What is Nik Zherdev’s Trade Value?

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With the Ales Kotalik signing, it’s almost a guarantee that the Rangers will not be bringing back Nikolai Zherdev. With his arbitration hearing set for July 31, Glen Sather has roughly three weeks to trade him. But with the news out that the Rangers will 99% not be bringing him back, what can Sather possibly get in return? All the pipe dreams of packaging him for a star are just that, pipe dreams. Do you really think someone will take Zherdev for a star knowing that he will just be a UFA in a few weeks?

So what we are looking at in return is a draft pick, maybe two, for the negotiating rights to him. Maybe a 3rd rounder at best. Teams I think would be interested are teams like the Kings, who have cap room and a need for a scoring RW. That’s just my opinion, I’m not starting rumors here.

At this point, since we know Zherdev won’t be back, it’s worth kicking tires on teams that may want him. You may as well get something in return for him.

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Zherdev is Still a Ranger

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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.

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Zherdev/Callahan File for Arbitration

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In relatively unsurprising (and surprising) news, Nik Zherdev (unsurprisingly) and Ryan Callahan (surprisingly) have filed for salary arbirtration. It’s unsurprising for Zherdev because I assumed that $3.25 million was going to be too little in his eyes. I assume he will get $3.75-$4 million.

As for Callahan, this is only surprising because I thought that Sather would be negotiating more with the Callahan camp, but apparently Sather still just low-balls everyone who is an RFA.

It’s just part of the process for RFAs, if you remember, Avery went through the same deal a couple seasons ago. It is what it is.

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