Signing Zherdev now could cost the Flyers a superior player later


Thumbnail image for zherdev.jpgThe Philadelphia Daily News backs up suspicions that a deal between flighty Russian winger Nikolai Zherdev and the Philadelphia Flyers seems highly likely (and also that such a contract would probably push out Simon Gagne).

The signing of Zherdev would officially mark the end of the Simon Gagne era in Philadelphia after 10 seasons. Last week, Gagne agreed to waive his no-trade clause. Gagne is due $5.25 million next season, his last year under contract with the Flyers.

Zherdev’s signing would put the Flyers over the salary cap. They currently have $578,000 in space with Darroll Powe and Dan Carcillo remaining as restricted free agents. Teams are allowed to be a maximum of 10 percent over the $59.4 million hard cap until the first day of the regular season on Oct. 7.

It appears that Zherdev would like a multi-year contract worth what he would have received last summer had the New York Rangers accepted the terms of his salary arbitration ($4 million).

This is not an uncommon reaction to the Flyers’ off-season moves but … what? Really? Why are the Flyers doing this? It boggles my mind that the team would put their already shaky salary cap situation in peril for a player widely known as a locker room headache whose career high is only 61 points (and who has a -46 career plus/minus).

Yes, it’s true that NHL teams can go about $5.9 million over the cap for portions of the off-season, but let’s not forget that the Flyers will have to face some tough questions next summer. Three forwards who could very well be “core” players will see their contracts expire in July ’11 (Jeff Carter, Claude Giroux and Ville Leino) while potential goner Gagne could be an unrestricted free agent.

Handing the feast-or-famine Zherdev a $4 million per year deal would likely inhibit the Flyers from retaining one of Carter, Giroux and Leino. Would you honestly choose a player who generates adjectives such as “enigmatic” and “inconsistent” instead of more reliable scorers? Sure, that isn’t the direct decision because Philadelphia won’t be confronted with those choices until next year, but have NHL teams learned nothing from the barbaric gutting of the Chicago Blackhawks roster this summer?

Now, Zherdev and the Flyers haven’t officially reached a deal yet, so this could all be a matter of wrinkling some brows for nothing. That being said, if it goes through, an already tight salary cap situation could become a real problem. All that for a player who is only consistent when it comes to being frustrating? That’s pretty baffling, even for a team far off the beaten path like the Flyers.

McIntyre takes over in goal as Wild chase Subban from Bruins crease

Malcolm Subban
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Goalie issues continue in Boston.

With both starting netminder Tuukka Rask and back-up Anton Khudobin both out of the lineup due to injury, Malcolm Subban was recalled from the AHL and given the start Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild.

But Subban, making his second career NHL start, allowed three goals on 16 shots and was pulled from the crease, giving way to his AHL teammate and fellow emergency recall Zane McIntyre.

Minnesota scored three times in the span of 5:29, which resulted in an early exit for Subban, the 24th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.

Subban’s lone NHL start didn’t go well, either. He gave up three goals on six shots in 31 minutes.

Video: Stamkos lights up Leafs during first game in Toronto since re-signing with Bolts

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 15:  Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning takes a break during a off-day practice session prior to Game Two of the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 15, 2016 at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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For those Maple Leafs fans who once hoped Steven Stamkos would go to free agency and sign in Toronto, what transpired Tuesday will probably sting for a bit.

Playing in Toronto for the first time since he re-signed with the Lightning, opting not to test the open market and potentially signing with what is essentially his hometown team, Stamkos scored 1:19 into the contest, after getting sent in alone and beating goalie Frederik Andersen.


That one might hurt.

There was even a smattering of boos directed at Stamkos, who has never played a game for the Leafs, when he first touched the puck during Tuesday’s contest.

You’ll recall that last season, the Stamkos-to-Toronto speculation dominated headlines at times. A bit of a “circus,” indeed.

There were even ‘Sign Stamkos’ signs being handed out to fans prior to a game between the Lightning and Maple Leafs last season.

It’s official: Crosby makes season debut for Penguins

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 18:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the New York Rangers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 18, 2015 in New York City. The Penguins defeated the Rangers 4-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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All signs pointed to it happening earlier in the day, but it is now official: Sidney Crosby is making his 2016-17 debut on Tuesday night when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Florida Panthers.

Crosby, the captain of the Penguins and the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner, missed the first six games of the season due to a concussion. He was injured during practice following the World Cup of Hockey where he led Canada to a championship. Given how much time he missed a few years ago with a concussion only missing six games a positive development for both him and the Penguins.

Crosby will open the game skating on the Penguins’ top line alongside wingers Patric Hornqvist and Scott Wilson.

Along with Crosby return to the lineup, goaltender Matt Murray is also in uniform for the Penguins for the first time this season and will serve as Marc-Andre Fleury‘s backup.

Murray, who took over the starting job in the playoffs last year when Fleury was sidelined at the start of the first round, was injured at the World Cup while playing for Team North America and has been sidelined since.

Even with the return of Crosby and Murray on Tuesday the Penguins are still missing a pretty significant player as defenseman Kris Letang remains sidelined with an upper body injury.

WATCH LIVE: Sabres at Flyers

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 11: Radko Gudas #3 of the Philadelphia Flyers and Jake McCabe #29 of the Buffalo Sabres fight in the third period at Wells Fargo Center on February 11, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers won 5-1.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Buffalo Sabres visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. This match-up features two teams off to slow starts and looking to work their way up the standings in their respective divisions.

You can check out the action on NBCSN or the NBC Sports’ Live Extra (7:30 pm ET).


Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

Flyers put Raffl (upper body) on IR

NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Sabres vs. Flyers; Ducks vs. Sharks

Bylsma: ‘We need to get more’ out of Reinhart