This all began in the most recent off season of 2010. The Philadelphia Flyers traded Simon Gagne in return for a draft pick and Matt Walker from the Lightning. This enabled them to sign Nikolay Zherdev from the KHL.
Zherdev played for the Rangers and the Blue Jackets, before being released for lack of effort, which led him to the KHL. But, that is all in the past he now has a fresh start with the Flyers. I mean, that is what he told the media the day he was signed, right?
But does he take advantage of the fresh start?
In 48 games played, Zherdev has 15 goals 4 assists with a plus 7 rating.
Not to pucking bad is it!?
You are probably wondering why Zherdev only has 48 games played with about 21 games remaining in the season. Although it may not come to a surprise for the average hockey fan, but Zherdev has been limited to ice time during games and a healthy scratch for more than 7 times this season. Six of those healthy scratches came recently all in a row.
There has been many Zherdev trade rumors floating around the internet following up to those healthy scratches, but no one really had an answer on what was going to happen to the 26 year old from the Ukraine. Many speculated that he was going to be traded, or even waived. After being a healthy scratch for the sixth time in a row, Zherdev approached GM Paul Holmgren and asked to be traded to another team where he can get ice time and play the game of hockey.
“His agent and Zherdev, they’re obviously not happy with the situation here,” said Holmgren. “They’d asked us to look around for options. Nothing really came of that through trades, so we’ll see what happens with waiving him.”
Lo and behold, the next day Zherdev was placed on waivers by the Flyers. Did you expect anything positive to come out of this situation? After being a healthy scratch six times in a row?
Coach Laviolette and GM Holmgren both told the media the reasoning for Zherdev being a healthy scratch was because they felt like he was not working hard enough in practice. And was not showing he wanted to be in the lineup.
Sorry but, WHAT!? Not working hard enough in practice?!
The guy has 15 goals, 4 assists with a plus 7 rating in limited ice time and games! Sounds to me he is not fitting in with the other team mates and Zherdev is getting the short end of the stick. If that is the case, that is pucked up!
Zherdev is no lightning in a bottle player. This guy has proven he has the skills to be an all-star in the NHL. Yes, at times he may make mistakes and turn the puck over, but who doesn’t?
This is hockey; this is life, NOBODY IS PERFECT! If the world was perfect we wouldn’t have puckers like me writing this article!
Ok getting back on track now, where were we? Oh yes, Zherdev was placed on waivers.
The day after being placed on waivers, the afternoon approached and Zherdev cleared waivers. Not one team put a claim in for him. Which I found a little odd, but leave it to the media to make a person look worse then what they really are. You still cannot hide the fact that Zherdev has 19 points with a plus 7 rating in only 48 games. And, keep in mind, limited ice time while being in the lineup.
So what do the Flyers do now? They couldn’t trade him or even waive him. They have the option of sending him to the AHL affiliate team and making salary cap space. But, why would they send a player like Zherdev down to the AHL? They ovibously signed him to help score goals, and help get to a Stanley cup.
Later that day after clearing waivers, Zherdev had a productive meeting with Holmgren and Laviolette, according to Sam Carchidi.
“Nik Zherdev talked to the media today. He had a productive meeting with coach Laviolette and GM Holmgren and may play again this year for the Flyers”.
Interesting, so Holmgren and Laviolette never actually wanted to let Zherdev go? Is this what I am gathering?
YES! Of course that is what I am gathering! You have to be a pucking idiot to think the Flyers actually wanted to let Zherdev go! If anything keeping him out as a healthy scratch was a master plan created by Laviolette.
Think about it. First round of the playoffs and top guys like Jeff Carter, Claude Giroux and Danny Briere are out on the ice getting double teamed. (lol double teamed) These guys are getting watched carefully, which enables Zherdev to get lost on the ice and be a potential threat to the opposing team.
I give it to the Flyers, this is a brilliant plan. Make the guy look so bad through the media, keeping him out as a healthy scratch. Then all of a sudden come playoff time, he is in the lineup, getting lost out on the ice becoming a major threat. Yes some of you are saying “he is lost all right”.
Truth of the matter is, he still has 15 goals, 4 assists with a plus 7 rating in just 48 games. And I will continue to stress this point across every Zherdev hater.
Now, I may be speculating on this whole master plan. But, after that productive meeting, Zherdev was in the next night’s lineup against the Ottawa Senators. This can mean one of two things.
1 – The Playoff Master Plan
2 – Trade Bait
Zherdev’s first shift of the game he grabbed the puck, and looked like a bullet flying down the ice, which led him to a breakaway.
HIS VERY FIRST SHIFT after being a healthy scratch for six straight games!
He did not score granted, Craig Anderson is a very solid goaltender. The Flyers lost 4-1 and of all the players, Zherdev looked like the only one in the game. The rest of the team looked asleep.
If Zherdev scored on that breakaway, I truly believe it would have made him more valuable of a player come the trade deadline February18th, that’s if the Flyers really wanted to trade him.
So, back to my original question. Does Zherdev take advantage of his fresh start? Yes I think he has. At times he may slack off, but who dosen’t? The captain of the Flyers slacks off more then anyone on this team.
What the Puck do you think is going to happen come the trade deadline!?
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