The Zherdev Saga – Part Two

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    The Zherdev saga is finally expected to come to an end sometime around noon today, when the Rangers are widely believed to cut bait with the enigmatic 24 year old winger. There is a ton of rumor and speculation surrounding a possible trade fit with the Toronto Maple Leafs, as it would accommodate his need for a young scoring forward. Forty eight hours and four hundred comments later, looks like it’s time for a new thread and a few quick notes:

    • The NY Post explains that Zherdev has not ruled out the possibility of returning to the KHL, and may sign a lucrative contract to play over there if no other NHL team offers him a long-term deal in the neighborhood of $3.9M a season. So even if the Rangers accept the one year contract and then trade him, is it in the receiving team’s best interest to give up a quality asset for a player that may bolt one year from now anyways?
    • Newsday reports that the Rangers have been shopping Zherdev for months without finding an appropriate match, and so the possibility of a trade seems unlikely at this point. In addition, it’s believed that the Rangers would prefer to deal him outside of the Eastern Conference.
    • The currently rumored deal is young defenseman Ian White and struggling winger Lee Stempniak in exchange for Zherdev. That seems like a hefty price to give up, considering White’s excellent ’08-’09 season showed that there is a lot of untapped promise. However, Zherdev’s supreme talent is undeniable and might make for some interesting chemistry on a young, exciting line with fellow Russian speakers Kulemin and Grabovski.
    • Simply put, the man is a walking highlight reel. Glimpses of his work can be viewed here, here, and here.