Could Zherdev Reprise his Role on Broadway?
Wednesday March 31st 2010, 12:33 am
Team Russia assistant coach Andrei Nazarov (left) talks with NHL agent Paul Theofanous and Rangers GM Glen Sather (right) in Newark. Photo: Vasily Osipov, Sport Express.

Team Russia assistant coach Andrei Nazarov (left) talks with NHL agent Paul Theofanous and Rangers GM Glen Sather (right) in Newark. Photo: Vasily Osipov, Sport Express.

The silly season starts early in Russia, and along with rampant speculation about the future of Jaromir Jagr (one report last week had his agent Jaroslav Zidek negotiating with SKA St. Petersburg) comes an interesting tidbit from newly appointed Team Russia assistant coach Andrei Nazarov, who was in Newark last week when the Rangers were in town to face the Devils.

In an interview in Sport Express, published Monday, Nazarov revealed that New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather asked him for his opinion on three players from the KHL which he claims the Rangers are interested in.  “After the game in Newark I had a long conversation with the President of the Rangers, founder of the Edmonton dynasty of the 1980s, Glen Sather,” Nazarov shared. “He asked my expert opinion on three hockey players from the KHL which the Rangers seek to acquire.”

Prompted to reveal the identities of those players, Nazarov refused. “I’m sorry, but Sather insisted that I keep their names secret,” the veteran of 571 NHL games and current coach of KHL club Traktor Chelyabinsk replied.

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.”

That remark is likely to be met with mixed reactions by Rangers fans.  A year ago Zherdev was the co-leader in scoring in New York, but a late season scoring slump cast a pall over that accomplishment.  Once the season ended, the Rangers extended a $3.2 million qualifying offer to the restricted free agent, only to have Zherdev turn it down and take the team to arbitration.  When the arbitrator awarded the Ukranian-born winger a $3.9 million, one year deal, the club opted to walk away.

In a separate Sport Express article, published Friday, Alexander Shapiro confirms that Zherdev will attempt to return to the NHL next season.  He also reports that three NHL teams are interested in the 25-year old forward and that each sent representatives to scout him over the course of the season.

Last summer’s arbitration award essentially priced Zherdev out of the NHL, leaving him no choice but to sign a one year contract with KHL club Atlant.  After his one year sabbatical, if he expects to return to the NHL next season — with any team — it’s likely he’ll have to do so for less than the original $3.2 million offer the Rangers extended last summer.

Zherdev finished his season in the KHL with 13 goals and 26 assists for 39 points, ranking him third on his club behind league scoring champion Sergei Mozyakin and former NHLer Jan Bulis.  Atlant’s season ended earlier this month when it lost its five game, first round playoff series to Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.  Zherdev earned a single assist in four playoff games.

So Rangers fans… would you take him back?

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16 Comments so far
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    From what I recall seeing reported during the season, there was no indication of any “improvement” in Zzzzzherdev….taking games/shifts “off”, etc. etc. All the things were grew to (not) love about him.

    I’d pass. But knowing how Slats loves a reclamation project….

    Comment by dbmaven 03.31.10 @ 11:05 pm

    Considering that Z got at least 60 points last year…and we only have 1 player with over that i’d take him back. We should have signed him or antropov.For God sake’s our $7 million dollar C has what a little over 40 points????Gaborik has 80 and then it drops down to i think 55 with Prospal.

    Comment by kathy 03.31.10 @ 11:49 pm

    yes. The Rangers sorely lack the kind of talent that Z brings to the table regardless if his head is not always on straight. He’d be the playmaker we need, but he’d do that from the wing position.

    Comment by pld459666 04.01.10 @ 12:28 pm

    [...] Jump to Comments This one is at Beyond the Blueshirts, a Rangers blog. It is crazy and interesting at the same time. And if I were the Rangers, and [...]

    Yes, as a Rangers fan, I’d take Z back in a heartbeat. While he was definitely not right after the coaching change, I don’t believe Torts ever gave him a fair shake, and furthermore, now that we have Marian Gaborik, Zherdev could play a comfortable 2nd-line RW position, maybe with Dubinsky or even Anisimov as his center. Maybe pricing himself out of the NHL taught him a lesson and maybe he’s willing to work. If not, I’ll still take his 60-70pts/yr for $3M over Drury’s 30pts/yr for $7.3/yr.

    Comment by Jeff L. 04.05.10 @ 11:51 am

    You either all fronting for Slats or double-dosing your Prozac.

    Did any of you posters happen to keep count of all the shifts Zherdev took off, night in/night, out last season?

    It’s the muckers, the lunchpail types–Prust, Shelley–who, in the absence of Callahan and Avery, are carrying us into the playoffs.

    Give Brodie Dupont, Gravchev or Wiese the shot, not another smallish, uninvolved, overpriced Euro mercenary.

    Comment by Fotiu is God 04.05.10 @ 1:57 pm


    Comment by r2d3 04.06.10 @ 4:09 pm

    No do not bring him back but the rangers should send sather to Russia.

    Comment by Steveo 04.06.10 @ 4:17 pm

    What is Sather crazy and dumb? Oh yes, he sure is. This guy is a dog. That’s DOG. He was bad on the ice and bad to the fans off the ice.

    Comment by Skip Funt 04.06.10 @ 4:23 pm

    LOL Steveo. Agreed. Sather should rot in Siberia.

    Comment by Rick 04.06.10 @ 4:38 pm

    Absolutely, I would take The “Z” man back. Torts
    Screwed this kid up. Dump Torts and Re-Sign “Z”.
    Has anyone wondered why Tamap toss his buns on the street ? No doubt in my mind. He is a flash in the pan. No plan, just dramatics and line changes. Can’t work a decent line change, but he can sure stir the lines. A tribute to the Rangers that they keep trying in the face of frustration.

    Comment by Lynn Keller 04.06.10 @ 6:21 pm

    I believe it’s time to begin at the top of the organization and work down. I, like most of you, would rather see Saither in Russia than watching his team falter night after night from his throne on high. Tortoralla needs to go too….Remy was a far better coach and team manager than temper tantrum will ever be…as far as Zherdnev is concerned…I would bring him back with the understanding that he would have to prove himself and very quickly too. BTW> you folks need to back off Drury a bit. While it is true he’s not playing to his full potential, he has stepped up his game since the olympics and is one of the main reasons the team is as close to the play-offs as they are. However, as long as dead-head Saither is at the helm, we can continue to look forward to more of the same ol’ same ol’. Hell, he’ll probably find a way to trade Lunquist away and get nothing for him!

    Comment by Dlfrangersfan 04.07.10 @ 12:05 pm

    it might be diffrent now. put him with gaborik and maybe you might have something..

    Comment by rob sahm 04.07.10 @ 3:13 pm

    If the Rangers could get Zherdev for less money, I say why not? He’s still young and hopefully has some upside. He played well before, there’s no reason he can’t/won’t again.

    Comment by Skor 04.08.10 @ 7:05 am

    I do if he will come to help out gabrik and ansimov it’s going to be great

    Comment by Jonathan 04.15.10 @ 10:47 am

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