• November 28, 2022

Would Trading Nikolay Zherdev Be Worth It?

I commented the other day that Nikolay Zherdev doesn’t seem to be clicking with the rest of the Flyers. I made a modest suggestion that Bill Guerin might be a better fit than Zherdev, and commenter “mugzybrown” pointed out that Zherdev’s pure goal scoring abilities are worth keeping around over a player like Guerin, who hadn’t been given any substantial looks by any other team (and has since retired, as of Monday). I thought it’d be worth discussing the pros and cons of keeping Zherdev with the orange and black.

As “mugzybrown” pointed out, Zherdev has ridiculous puck handling abilities.  There aren’t many Flyers who could go one on one with a goalie and almost be guaranteed to score. Unfortunately, his individualistic style of play has hurt his ability to gel with potential line-mates.

Coach Peter Laviolette benched Zherdev earlier in the season for a perceived lack of dedication to completing checks and supporting teammates. When he was able to get back into the line-up thanks to a timely suspension to Danny Briere, Zherdev was much more aggressive and was able to notch a few goals. In recent weeks, though, the improved play of James Van Riemsdyk and Nodl has pushed him off of a line with Mike Richards and he hasn’t formed any substantial chemistry with Claude Giroux and Jeff Carter to warrant a spot over Darroll Powe.

All that’s left is a fourth line with Blair Betts and Jody Shelley. If Dan Carcillo replaced Shelley, there’s a chance that the fourth line could be more potent offensively, but who knows by how much.

Zherdev does supply offensive insurance in the event of injuries, which haven’t plagued the Flyers yet but are bound to as the season progresses. I get the feeling that Zherdev shows up more often when he feels needed than when he feels like he’s being shoe-horned in.

On a one year, $2-million contract, I have very strong doubts that Zherdev will be here next year. He has too much talent to not be a top six player on another team, whether that is in the NHL or the KHL. His continued presence ultimately depends on whether you think he’d be the difference maker in the 2010-2011 season.

If Zherdev were to be moved, the immediate benefit would be that his $2 million comes off the books. For a very salary cap-strapped team like the Flyers, every dollar matters, especially when you consider the fact that goaltender Michael Leighton will be back on the books in a week. Zherdev would still need to be replaced, whether that’s Phantom Eric Wellwood or another player in a trade, so there will still be some salary coming back.

Would Eric Wellwood really replace the talent of Zherdev? Would any other Phantom? Probably not this season. I think there is definitely some trade value for Zherdev, and the Flyers wouldn’t have to be hosed the way the Detroit was in the Ville Leino for Ole-Kristian Toleffson and a 5th round draft pick trade.

General manager Paul Holmgren just needs to dangle him in front of teams with struggling offense that have picks and prospects to offer. In particular, the Los Angeles Kings come to mind, as they have multiple connections to the Flyers organization, are heavily expected to make the playoffs, and currently sit 17th in the league in scoring. The Kings have continually missed the boat when it comes to big free agent signings and trades, having lost Ilya Kovalchuk to the New Jersey Devils (although they have to be sighing in relief based on that joke of a player) and Tomas Fleischmann to the Colorado Avalanche. Bringing in a player like Zherdev would greatly boost the power of their offense as well as help general manager Dean Lombardi keep his job.

The Flyers are currently jockeying for first place in the NHL. There is no need to make any drastic decisions with the roster. That said, it certainly couldn’t hurt for the Flyers to consider alternative options as the season progresses when it comes to their shy Russian comrade.

Josh Janet

Josh Janet was raised in Northern New Jersey, but by an odd set of circumstances, is a Philadelphia sports fan. While recently converted to the Phillies, Josh is a diehard Flyers fan and can be expected to stay on top of the latest NHL news.

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December 8, 2010 1:52 pm

I’ve finally made it to the big time. I like Zherdev on the squad.

December 8, 2010 2:45 pm

Zherdev is currently tied for 10th in scoring among forwards on the squad. If any other team out there thinks he can help them, we should move him right away. Leighton’s return is going to mess things up a bit. OTOH, maybe they can put Walker on LTIR when Leighton comes back.

December 9, 2010 1:17 pm

Ummmmmmmm……… We don’t need Walker or Lappy. We can drop Boosh or Leighton (I think Lavy’s going to drop Leighton). We’re way in the green when you look at it like that.

That’s an interesting observation about him playing better when he feels needed. I’ve never considered that but I think you’re on to something. His stick-handling skills are ridiculous though. How does he not have 20 goals already working alongside guys like Richards and Giroux??? I just don’t understand how all his skills don’t add up to more goals. ESPECIALLY if he’s supposedly selfish.

Keep Him. Think playoff depth here. It’s only 2 mil and unless we get a 1st-rounder at the deadline he should stay. Hey, I might even want a 1st and 2nd for him when i think about playoff depth.

December 9, 2010 4:21 pm

Zherdev is beat. Everyone is blinded by his dangle, but he is not a responsible player. We have enough forward depth that we dont need A guy like Zherdev. Get rid of him.

December 9, 2010 5:15 pm

How many players do the Flyers have that can really make a play happen? Briere, Giroux, Leino, and Zherdev. That’s it. You need playmakers. The Flyers always go through times when the dirty goals are coming and you need a pretty goal. Richards, Carter, JvR, etc aren’t going to get you those.

Yes Zherdev needs to avoid the bad turnovers, but beyond that, you need skilled players.

December 11, 2010 11:34 am

You are looking at Z’s skill inside a vacuum and assuming he gets himself in position to make plays, which he doesn’t. Instead of passing or dumping the puck into the offensive zone, Z decides to try and dangle through 3 defenders, gets stripped and sends the other team roaring towards Bob. This team would be better served to have a defensively responsible forward.