2010 NHL Free Agency: Nikolai Zherdev looks to return to the NHL, possibly with Leafs or Sabres

zherdev.jpgUpdate: TSN reports that the Maple Leafs aren’t interested in Zherdev.

After spending a year in the KHL with Mytishchi Atlant, Dmitry Chesnokov reports that former Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers forward Nikolai Zherdev is in serious discussions to return to the NHL. Chesnokov states that the Russian right-handed left winger is in talks with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres at the moment.

Considering the summer time struggles of Ilya Kovalchuk and Alex Frolov, I wonder if Zherdev was simply a year ahead of his time. While both players have had more success than Zherdev, they still share his national origin, reputation for being a bit … mercurial and even shoot the same way and skate on the left wing.

Zherdev entered the league as the Blue Jackets’ hopeful second banana to Rick Nash. The skilled but occasionally irksome forward often found himself in Ken Hitchock’s doghouse, a plight you might expect to elicit empathy from Nikita Filatov. He scored 39 points in 52 games in the KHL last season while putting up 58 and 61 in his most recent NHL campaigns during the 08-09 and 07-08 seasons.

While the hope is that his game is maturing a bit, Zherdev could be a nice addition for both the Sabres and Maple Leafs at the right price. He is a three-time 20-goal scorer already in the NHL and at 25 one could argue that he’s still entering his prime.

(Also, to complete the Russian Rumor Trilogy, Chesnokov points out that railed high draft pick Alexander Svitov will not play in the NHL next season.)

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    Despite tough fight, Stars hand Wild their sixth straight loss

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    The Minnesota Wild put together the kind of effort that would beat a lot of NHL teams on Tuesday. Unfortunately for that beleaguered group, it wasn’t enough to edge the Dallas Stars.

    Despite generating 40 shots on goal and generating 1-0 and 2-1 leads, the Wild lost to the Stars 4-3 in overtime. With that, they’ve lost six straight games.

    (The view doesn’t get much prettier if you pull away a little further, either, as Minnesota’s only won once in the last month, going 1-9-2 in their last 12.)

    Ultimately, the Stars’ big guns were too powerful. Tyler Seguin generated two assists and so did Jamie Benn, who set up John Klingberg‘s overtime game-winning goal.

    Again, the effort sure seemed to be there for the Wild, even if they’re far beyond the point of accepting moral victories.

    As frustrating as this must be, Minnesota’s not that far from a playoff spot. Still, it has to sting to see “Close, but not good enough” as a prevailing theme as of late.

    Royal beating: Lucic, Kings crush Bruins 9-2

    As Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (37) looks on Los Angeles Kings' Milan Lucic waves to the crowd after a tribute to him was played on the screen during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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    The Boston Bruins welcomed Milan Lucic back on Tuesday. Maybe they shouldn’t have extended such a warm welcome to the Los Angeles Kings overall, however.

    You won’t see many games as lopsided as this one, at least in 2015-16, as the Kings walloped the Bruins by a humbling score of 9-2.

    Lucic wasn’t just there, either, as he scored a goal and an assist in his quite triumphant return to Boston.

    Tuukka Rask had a short night in Boston’s net, yet it wasn’t as if Jonas Gustavsson enjoyed his time. It was a pretty sound beating by all accounts.

    This dominant win is a heck of a way for the Kings to begin an imposing seven-game road trip, which continues against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Bruins probably want to burn the tape on this one themselves, as they’re about to head on a six-game road trip.

    Video: Evander Kane believes he won his fights vs. Alex Petrovic

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    The Florida Panthers are beating up the Buffalo Sabres where it counts – on the scoreboard – but Evander Kane was happy to highlight his perceived victories in a couple bouts.

    Buffalo’s power forward fought Alex Petrovic twice on Tuesday, and Kane wasn’t shy about holding up a “2-0.”

    You can watch the second fight above, and the first one below, via Hockey Fights by way of MSG:

    This GIF might just say it all, really:

    Update: Apparently they fought again moments after this post went up.

    Probably safe to call it a rivalry between the two, right?

    The Panthers ultimately won 7-4.

    Fight video: Yes, a visor-breaking punch

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    Some hockey players resist the urge to wear a visor, at least if they’re given that choice.

    Perhaps a few will say “Hey, Nathan Beaulieu will just punch it off anyway.”

    Maybe not, but Beaulieu provided a rather unique moment in his fight with Cedric Paquette during the Montreal Canadiens – Tampa Bay Lightning game. You can watch that bout in the video above, and see a cut on the Lightning pest’s face from that blow.

    Want it in GIF form? OK then: