The sun is hot the snow is cold and the Flyers do not experiment with Ukrainian head cases with Russian tendencies, right? Yes, that is, until Wednesday.
According to Russian sources and confirmed by Anthony SanFilippo, the Flyers are set to acquire highly talented winger Nikolai Zherdev for an undisclosed term. Zherdev’s representatives were rumored to be asking for a sum close to $4 million per season.
Zherdev, 25, played five seasons in the NHL, four with the Columbus Blue Jackets and one with the New York Rangers. Considered by many to be a complete head case, right-handed Zherdev, standing at 6’2, 200 lbs., has star-caliber, first-line talent but has been labeled as lazy and an enigma, due to his entitled attitude. Still, the Ukrainian sniper registered 99 goals and 140 assists in 365 career games. His best season came in 2007-08, when he scored 26 goals and 35 assists for Columbus. He then joined the Rangers in 2008-09, and has similar success by netting 23 goals and 35 assists.
Zherdev left the NHL for the 2009-10 season to play for Atlant of the KHL. He scored 13 goals and 23 assists in 52 games.
Unless the Flyers see a ray of light in the moody winger, signing Zherdev to a multi-year contract is nothing short of a gamble. But should it pay off, the Flyers will hit it big.