Zherdev’s Fantasy Profile

Forward Nikolai Zherdev has been signed by the Philadelphia Flyers for the upcoming year. Will he produce or will he flop? Here’s my take and why.

Zherdev played last season over in Russia and posted 39 points in 52 games. With only a +3 rating and a team leading 79 penalty minutes leave not much to be desired. Yet looking at the previous two seasons in the NHL, Zherdev posted a team leading 58 points in a Rangers uniform and 61 points for Columbus, 8 points less than NHL All Star Rick Nash. And in both seasons his penalty minutes were much more curved than in the KHL. His NHL seasons are much more like his 1st round 4th overall draft in 2003 prediction of talent.

Zherdev is a solid player despite the naysayers. Sure he needs to be whipped every now and then to make sure he is playing day in and day out, but who better than the Philadelphia Flyers? Captain Mike Richards and big veteran defenseman Chris Pronger are just the players to do it, not to leave out beastly Scott Hartnell for backup. What so many fans fail to realize is that prior to his trade to the Flyers, backbone of the playoffs Ville Leino only put up 7 points in 42 games with the Detroit Red Wings. Leino’s poor production was a direct result of his lack of effort on the ice. Leino, in a nutshell, was transformed once he went to the Flyers into a hard working, corner digging offensive powerhouse in clutch times. Zherdev will follow suit.

So, my overall prediction for the newly acquired Flyers Zherdev: Pick him late in the draft. He will put up at least 60 points this season, perhaps even more depending on who he plays with, although I foresee him winging with Leino forming a one two punch that will contest with any second line in the NHL. Factor in his previous seasons production, as well as only being signed to a one year “tryout” season, Zherdev will be looking to increase his pay of 2 million to much more.

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