Flyers sign Zherdev - 07-09-10

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

This move was in the works for a few days but finally became official.

The Flyers signed former Rangers and Blue Jackets forward Nikolai Zherdev to a one-year contract worth $2 million.

Zherdev, 25, played for Atlant-Moscow of the KHL last season. In 52 games, he scored 39 points (13 goals, 26 assists).

The fourth overall pick of the 2003 draft by Columbus, Zherdev, 6-foot-2, 203, last played in the NHL in 2008-09 when he appeared in 82 games for the Rangers and recorded 58 points (23 goals, 35 assists).

EN Says: Just an awful move.

The Flyers essentially have no salary cap space left. Yet, instead of addressing their weakest position - goaltending - they go an add a top-six winger capable of scoring 20 goals despite the fact they were among the top ten teams in the NHL last season in goals scored.

Philadelphia got lucky with its goaltending last season. Ray Emery was brought off the scrap heap to be the team's starter and washed out due to injuries. Michael Leighton was claimed off waivers and got hot. Leighton and Boucher combined to lead the Flyers on a completely improbable playoff run before Leighton finally came back to earth and flopped badly in the Stanley Cup final against the Blackhawks.

The Flyers have not had an elite goaltender since Ron Hextall's first run with the team in the late 1980s. Since then, the Flyers have tried to convince themselves the likes of Ken Wregget, Tommy Soderstrom, Dominic Roussel, Hextall (version 2.0), Garth Snow, Sean Burke, an old, wash-ed up John Vanbiesbrouck, Boucher (version 1.0), Roman Cechmanek, Robert Esche, Antero Niittymaki, Martin Biron, Emery, Leighton and Boucher (version 2.0) were capable of leading the team to its first Stanley Cup since 1975.

What makes the move even more confusing is the immense baggage Zherdev brings. His selfish attitude caused him to be chased out of Columbus and New York. Why would the Flyers, never a team short on distractions to begin with, bring in a toxic element like Zherdev?

There's no question Zherdev is a very elite talent, especially in terms of pure scoring ability, but there's plenty of holes of his game, expecially defensively.

This is a signing which just doesn't makes sense on so many levels.

(Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

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