The hot-button rumor topic surrounding the Atlanta Thrashers these days swirls around whether or not the team is pursuing one Mr. Nikolai Zherdev…the 6′-2″, 195 pound free agent forward who will turn 25-years only on November 5. And from these speculations rise from the mouths…or in this case, keyboards…of fans the burning question that asks, “Should the team actually take this course of action or not”.
Sparking a lot of this chatter has been this Zherdev quote last week reported in a Russian news source…
Would you like to see Nikolai Zherdev in a Thrashers uniform?
Total Voters: 129
The link was forwarded to me by a contact I have over there and he verified the translation. So, obviously after reading a statement like that…people are gonna start talking.
After spending four seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets, he played last season for the Rangers. He has 99 goals and 140 assists in 365 total games and is a -46. 29 goals and 49 assists have come on the power play and he has one short-handed goal. He saw his highest point production during the 2007-08 season while play with the CBJs when he notched 25 goals and 61 points…22 of those points coming while on the man advantage.
Earlier in the summer he was awarded a $3.9 million deal during arbitration…and the Rangers decided to pass.
Now then…obviously the first question regarding bringing him in or not is, “Would he help the team”? Personally, I think the answer to that question is…yes. I would probably even make that…Oh-Hay-ELL YES if certain rumblings are true that Ilya Kovalchuk is lobbying for his services.
The next question would then be, “What would that do to the lineups”? Needless to say he is going to be on the top-two lines… quite possibly even creating a first line centered by Antropov with Kovy and Zherdev on either side. However, I don’t know if I’m a big fan of that thought as it seems better to have Antropov on the right boards instead of in the middle. Regardless…and assuming a White-Kozlov-Little second line…then what becomes of Peverley?
Either way you line ‘em up, though…someone gets pushed to the third line. If it’s not Peverley, then is it White…or Kozlov? It certainly isn’t going to be Little or Antropov. But let’s be honest here… in the big scheme of things, I just don’t think having to make such a decision would be a bad problem for John Anderson to have.
The biggest knock that I’ve heard regarding Zherdev is that he tends to pull a “Casper” or a “Houdini”…or some might even say a “Hossa”… during big games. For example, he went pointless in the seven-game series versus the Caps last April in the opening round of the playoffs. Zero goals, Zero assists, -3 with 12 shots on goals…one-fourth of those dozen coming in game six alone.
Price? Well, the Thrashers have the cap room to bring him in…which would probably cost closer to the arbiter’s $3.9 mil than the two and a half he earned last year. To this question of actual cost, the Falconer has opined, “Can the Thrashers afford Zherdev“.
The Thrashers can indeed afford him…the question is do they want to budget for him? And by “they”, of course, I mean ownership.
As we are now just days away from the start of training camp and but a week and a day from the first preseason game…yeah, I know…one has to figure that something is going to happen soon…if it’s actually going to happen at all.
With all that that said, I officially toss the issue out to you…YES or NO on Zherdev. And if you vote in the affirmative, tell me what you would like to see in the way of lineups.