As expected, the Flyers have officially signed forward Nikolai Zherdev to a one-year deal worth $2 million.
Zherdev, 25, is a 6’2, 203 lbs. skill forward with incredible hands and an uncanny ability to finish. Armed with a great deal of natural scoring ability, the Ukrainian’s naysayers have stated that despite his skill, he is a head case with a lazy work ethic. The Flyers hope that a steady organization with a high-paced offensive game helps Zherdev gain some consistency.
“Nik is a highly skilled player who, at 25-years-old, we feel will be a good fit to our core of forwards,” said Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren. “Prior to playing last season in Russia, Nik ranked as one of the top young point-producers in the NHL. We are pleased to add him to our team.”
After putting up 61 points in 82 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2007-08, Zherdev moved to the New York Rangers, where he put up 58 points in 82 games. As a restricted free agent looking to make big money, Zherdev took the Rangers to arbitration in 2009. However, the Rangers refused to pay up and let the sniper walk. With limited options and seeking a big payday, the former fourth overall selection by the Blue Jackets in the 2007 NHL draft, signed with Atlant of the KHL for the 2009-10 season.
Zherdev is expected to replace forward Simon Gagne, who, as a cap casualty, is on the trading block with one year left on his $5.25 million contract.