No parks, no problems: Nikolay Zherdev would be OK playing in Winnipeg

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While Ilya Bryzgalov had his own issues with potentially playing in Winnipeg before he landed in Philadelphia, one Russian player looking for work isn’t nearly as opposed to the Canadian city in the plains.

Nikolay Zherdev is one of the few players hanging around in free agency with the capability to add some productive offense to a team in need, and while he sits in free agency hoping to land a job with another NHL team, rather than head back to the KHL in Russia, potential landing spots for Zherdev are apparently few and far between. After all, with a history of struggling to mesh with his three previous NHL teams in Columbus, New York, and Philadelphia people start to wonder what’s up.

The guys at Broad Street Hockey were able to speak with Zherdev about where he’d like to end up and the offensively challenged Winnipeg Jets are a team he wouldn’t be outright opposed to joining.

Right now it sounds like the Winnipeg Jets and Atlant of the KHL are the two most likely options for Zherdev. Some free agents are said to be avoiding Winnipeg because of the cold weather there in the winter. Zherdev says it wouldn’t be a problem for him.

“The weather is not a priority to me. The most important thing is to get a good role on the team, a good coach and a good contract. Everything related to climate and geography doesn’t basically mean anything.”

“I met with Vityaz GM Alexei Zhamnov a little while ago, he played three years in Winnipeg. He said it’s very cold and a lot of snow there in the winter, which just makes it an ideal place for hockey. Great!”

“Manitoba doesn’t scare me. I wasn’t born in Africa afterall.”

Many a man has said that winter in Manitoba doesn’t scare them only to find themselves frozen while hanging on Portage & Main Street downtown while the winds tear at their soul.

All right so that hasn’t happened either and with Zherdev being from Russia, complaining about the cold and winter would seem a bit odd. Yes, it was odd when Bryzgalov did so too but at least he’d spent his entire NHL career in southern California and Arizona. You can get a bit spoiled that way.

The important take away from what Zherdev says is that he’ll take a job anywhere as long as the situation and the money are right. Finding both of those out on the market now might prove to be difficult for him. As mentioned, he’s found a way to frustrate coaches in three different NHL cities from Ken Hitchcock in Columbus to both Tom Renney and John Tortorella with the Rangers to Peter Laviolette in Philly. With three Stanley Cup winning coaches in the mix there, that’s a tough legacy to break.

For Zherdev, he might be one guy that can’t be too picky about who has interest in him, if there’s anyone at all.

Avalanche reportedly settle with Nieto, avoiding arbitration

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Matt Nieto won’t need his arbitration hearing on Monday.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Nieto has agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Colorado Avalanche.

Nieto split last season between San Jose and Colorado, which claimed him off waivers in January.

In 43 games for the Avalanche, the 24-year-old forward scored seven goals with four assists.

Nieto was the only Colorado player on this summer’s arbitration list. However, the Avs still have a restricted free agent in Nikita Zadorov, who could be off to the KHL next season.

3 KHL players suspended after testing positive for banned substances

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The International Ice Hockey Federation has announced that three KHL players have been suspended after testing positive for banned substances.

Here’s an excerpt from the KHL’s website:

The IIHF has informed the KHL that three players – forward Danis Zaripov (then with Metallurg Magnitogorsk), defenseman Andrei Konev (Admiral Vladivostok) and defenseman Derek Smith (Medvescak Zagreb) – have tested positive for banned substances.

Derek Smith tested positive for a category S6.а stimulant.

Andrei Konev tested positive for a category S6.b stimulant.

Danis Zaripov tested positive for a category S6.b stimulant plus category S5 diuretics and masking agents.

Zapirov, who was part of Team Russia at the 2010 Olympic Games, has been banned from suiting up in “competitive hockey” until May 22, 2019. Konev will be unable to play until Nov. 19, 2017, while Smith, who is Canadian, will be suspended until Sep. 2, 2018.

Smith, 32, played in 94 NHL games with the Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames between 2009-10 and 2013-14.

Report: John MacLean could join Tocchet’s coaching staff in Arizona

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The Arizona Coyotes have a new head coach, but Rick Tocchet still has to fill out the rest of his staff.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the ‘Yotes might be looking to add John MacLean to their coaching staff.

MacLean, 52, spent six years as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils (2002-2009) before becoming the head coach of their AHL affiliate. After one year of coaching in the minors, MacLean was promoted to head coach of the Devils. His tenure didn’t last very long, as he was fired after just 33 games (they were 9-22-2 under his watch).

He spent the following three seasons as an assistant in Carolina, but he was let go after the 2014 season.

MacLean hasn’t been back behind an NHL bench since being let go by the ‘Canes. Instead, he’s served as a hockey analyst on various television networks.

Related:

Tocchet wants Coyotes’ young players to be ‘creative’ and ‘calculated’

Tocchet brings lessons from past mistakes (and successes) to Coyotes

Sabres re-sign Robin Lehner to one-year, $4 million deal

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The Buffalo Sabres avoided salary arbitration with goalie Robin Lehner, as they inked him to a one-year, $4 million contract on Tuesday morning.

Lehner and the Sabres were scheduled to have their hearing on July 27, but that obviously won’t be necessary anymore.

The 26-year-old played a career-high 59 games in 2016-17. He finished the year with a 23-26-8 record, a 2.68 goals-against-average and a .920 save percentage.

There’s no doubt that he’s a talented netminder, but he’s had his share of struggles when it comes to staying healthy and being consistent. Of course, the team in front of him hasn’t been very good either.

Both of Buffalo’s goalies (Lehner and Chad Johnson) will have something to prove this season because they’re both on one-year contracts. When their deals expire next summer, Lehner will be a restricted free agent again, while Johnson will be free to test the market on July 1st.

The Sabres now have just over $10.9 million in cap space with RFAs Zemgus Girgensons, Nathan Beaulieu and Evan Rodrigues still needing new contracts.

A huge extension for Jack Eichel is also on the horizon, but his new salary won’t count on the cap until 2018-19.