Saturday, August 1, 2009

Zherdev's time growing short

We've been wondering what will happen to Nik Zherdev for quite some time now. The Rangers and the Restricted Free Agent have gone through several steps this off season:
  • The Rangers - after strongly considering cutting him loose for nothing - opted to make a qualifying offer to Nik.

  • Nik rejected the offer and asked for binding arbitration.

  • No deal was reached leading up to the July 31st arbitration date. During the same period the Rangers sought after and signed Ryan Callahan before his arbitration hearing date came up.

  • The arbitration hearing was this morning - both sides presented their sides of the story - and now we wait for a decision.

The Arbitrator can take up to 3 days. Which means we should know something soon. Unlike baseball and football, the arbitrator can choose a dollar figure between the Rangers and Zherdev's offer. When that's done the puck is in the Ranger's corner - they can accept or reject the arbitrator's decision - even if he picks the figure the Rangers proposed in the first place. If that happens Nik Zherdev is an unrestricted free agent and is gone. Arbitration can get very nasty with the Rangers forced to denigrate their own player to make their case.

Common sense tells us that Zherdev did poorly under Tortorella. He was benched by John for not hustling back on defense after his own giveaway. And down the stretch and in the playoff Nik disappeared off the face of the earth - contributing zero points in seven playoff games.

It's pretty clear to us that the Rangers no longer want him. So why go through the arbitration process? Good question. As near as we can figure - the Rangers may still hope to sign and trade the enigmatic Russian, who despite everything, led the Blueshirts in points last year.

So - for now - we wait. But in our hearts we think Nik's time in NY is growing shorter by the hour.


  1. The Rangers, with their signing of Kotalik, have made it very clear that Zherdev is not in the teams plans. He played approximately 12 minutes per game in the Playoffs (coaches decision). Last time I checked you can't produce from the bench. As for our over-rated, over-paid and under-performing Captain Valium, he didn't shine in the post season either (please don't bring up th ewrist thing, you're above that). We we zhit the bed this year we will be scrambling, with no CAP space, to clean things up and will rue the day we let Zherdev walk away for nothing.

  2. Hi anonymous. Always good to hear from a Ranger fan - and even if we dissagree on some things - there's no reason to get mad. This is a hockey team we like to follow - it's entertainment. And I'm very glad you're reading the blog.

    You're bringing up some good points. The Rangers soured on Zherdev and didn't put him in a great environemnt to succeed.

    On the other hand - 12 minutes a game is not nothing. With powerplays, Penalty Kills and three or four lines playing, 12 minutes per is not meaningless time. In 7 games it's nearly an hour and a half of ice time. And Nik Z was something like minus three with no assists and no goals in those 84 minutes.

    But look - regardless of whose fault it is - Tortorella's system is not a good fit for Nik. He'll be better off somewhere else and we will also, And he may pour in 30+ goals next year and we'll miss him.

    And the Rangers may not let Nik walk for nothing - they may have gone through this whole arbitration business in order to sign and trade.

    Anyway - thanks for the post - and please - angry or not - keep em coming. You're always welcome here.