Yesterday morning Eklund reported that there was a rumor that the Canadiens are interested in Nikolai Zherdev. Eklund also reported a few weeks ago that the Oilers and the Islanders may also be looking at him as well. Dealing Zherdev could end up profitable if done correctly.
First of all, Nikolai Zherdev is a forward who has butted heads with Ken Hitchcock. Just like any other situation where players butted heads with Hitchcock, that player ends up leaving. I expect there to be no difference here. Also it seems like Zherdev also has no interest playing in Columbus. There was a report in April that Zherdev was trying to ditch practices. To me, that's the sign of a arrogant teammate, and that doesn't fly in Hitchcock's system. So I am expecting some type of buy-out, or some type of deal with Montreal or Edmonton.
The more I think about it, this might be the best scenario. Better yet, let Montreal buy-out his contract. Zherdev makes $5.75M over the next 2 seasons, not to mention $2.5M this year. This would not only clear cap room for a potential bigger signing, but would allow the Jackets to add that goal-scorer that I wrote about yesterday. There are still players out there on the market such as Jeff O'Neill, and Janne Niiminaa
Looking at Montreal it doesn't seem like they have a lot to offer. For what Zherdev is worth, Montreal could only offer draft picks or younger players. The Jackets are trying to make the playoffs, they dont want to rebuild! Looking at Edmonton there isn't much there to negotiate with either. Personally, something that is breathing is a better trade for Zherdev for an immediate benefit this season.
The bottom line is, the Jackets should move Zherdev. Yes, I did say he could be an asset yesterday, but I also did say he had to be motivated, and under this system he doesn't seem too motivated to me. He hasn't proven that he is worth $5.75M on the small-market Columbus team. My opinion is to try to get Montreal to buy-out his contract. They will benefit from Zherdev's services, plus he could play with his fellow comrade that he tries to emulate, Alex Kovalev.