All reports are leading to the Winnipeg Jets talking contract with the agent for talented forward Nik Zherdev.
As most have probably read or heard by now Zherdev is a talented forward that can dazzle you with skill one game and not show up the next.
I believe that this is more made up by the media in Philly and New York because zherdev did not fit into the coaches system.
Zherdev reminds me a lot of Zhamnov. He's a Shift play maker that can also score. Your not going to have him killing penalties or lining guys up with big hits but he is a player with a skill set that makes him a danger on offense.
Zherdev played on teams with hard ass coaches one in Torterella the other in Laviolette. Both coaches expect all of the players to buy into a system where even the top players play the game like 3rd line checkers away from the puck.
I have played the game at a high level and know that not everyone can play that style of game. Some can and that's fine but I never seen Gretzky play a grinding it out in the corners style game. It's not for everyone and instead of show-casing the skill of Zherdev and utilizing him to his assets he was asked to buy into a system that was not tailored to his strong points. In the end he was out-cast.
Winnipeg needs a top line center badly and Zherdev is not the solution to this. However He has a history with coach Noel dating back to when he was in columbus. In an interview earlier in the day he had said that he is very interested in playing in Winnipeg and has already talked to Zhamnov about his playing days in the peg. Zhamnov was quick to let him in on the fact that it gets cold here but also informed Zherdev that its the perfect conditions for hockey. Zherdev went on in the article to state that climate and location have no barring at all in where he plays. He is looking for a role on a team with a good coach and contract.
Zherdev made 2 million last season for Philly and on many nights was playing 3rd 4th lines minuets yet still racked up 16 goals in 56 games played.
My Calculations are he would have scored 22 goals if he played 82 games with only 8min of ice time a game.
In Winnipeg he could look to double that and i'm guessing he's put up 30 plus goals. Noel knows what this player is capable of and my guess is the Jets sign him to a 1-2 year deal at or around what he made last season. my guess is 2.3 million.
Winnipeg has always had an abundance of Russian players on their teams. I think the fit here will be nice for both the player and the organization.