Tag: Nikolay Zherdev

Rostislav Klesla, Viktor Stalberg

Viktor Stalberg leaves Swedish league, headed to KHL


Blackhawks forward Viktor Stalberg is changing things up a bit while abroad during the lockout.

While he had been playing for Frolunda in the Swedish Elite League, according to reporter Andrey Osadchenko, he’ll be headed to Russia and the KHL next. There he’ll team up with Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin as well as former NHL’ers Nikolay Zherdev and Sandis Ozolinsh with Atlant Moscow.

In ten games with Frolunda, Stalberg had six goals and five assists. By joining Atlant, they’ll be hoping he can spark their offense as well as they’ve struggled so far this season.

PHT Morning Skate: Where Phil Esposito is still hardcore about the Summit Series

Phil Esposito, Vladislav Tretiak
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Phil Esposito sounds as if he could play the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union all over again right now. (Calgary Sun)

It must be Blake Wheeler day at the Winnipeg Sun, but Ken Wiebe has a great story about how Claude Noel lit a fire under him last season. (Winnipeg Sun)

Young forward Brett Connolly will get some needed time to work on his game in Syracuse in the AHL. (The Tampa Tribune)

Many Oilers forwards and prospects are eating it up in Europe already. Sure beats Seattle, right? Ahh, jokes. (Edmonton Journal)

Former Binghamton Senators coach Kurt Kleinendorst landed a new job as head coach the University of Alabama-Huntsville hockey team, replacing Chris Luongo. (The Huntsville Times)

Finally, check out Nikolay Zherdev’s goal for Atlant in the KHL. (KHL-YouTube)

Looks like Blues top pick Tarasenko is coming to the NHL

Vladimir Tarasenko
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Blues fans have been taking a watchful eye on Russia to see if 2010 first-round pick Vladimir Tarasenko will bring his game to St. Louis.

Their patience may be about to be rewarded.

Yahoo! Sports’ Dmitry Chesnokov reports this morning Tarasenko will come to North America and play for the Blues. Tarasenko has been playing in the KHL the last four seasons, splitting his time this past year with Novosibirsk Siber and SKA St. Petersburg.

The powerful scoring winger is someone the Blues have been high on since picking him but feared his stay in the KHL might be a permanent choice for him. Now he’ll be taking his shot to make the Blues roster with Ken Hitchcock at the helm. Here’s to hoping Tarasenko never had a chance to talk with Nikolay Zherdev.

Update (10:35 a.m. ET): Book it. Tarasenko signs his three-year entry-level deal according to Jeremy Rutherford of The Post-Dispatch.

Columnist: Jackets should trade their first-round pick so they don’t choose another Russian

Nikita Filatov

The Columbus Blue Jackets are poised to pick first overall this summer at the NHL draft. In the past when they’ve had high picks, they’ve had some trouble. While they were able to snag Rick Nash first overall in 2002, they’ve had issues in other years.

With this year’s draft featuring top prospects like Russians Nail Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko, the Jackets are in a curious position. Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons says he has a solution for Columbus: Trade away their first-round pick to avoid having to take a potential Russian superstar.

Twice in recent history, the Jackets used an early pick on a Russian forward. Twice they failed. It didn’t work out with Nikolai Zherdev or with Nikita Filatov. They can’t afford to fail a third time with the franchise so tender.

The options, along with dealing Nash, are this for Columbus: 1) They could keep the pick and not choose Yakupov, which would be counter-productive; 2) They could flip picks with another team, trading the first choice for another early choice, and getting an asset as well; 3) They could trade the pick to the highest bidder and begin rebuilding their team.

The problem here is that guys like Filatov and Zherdev weren’t labeled as “can’t miss” prospects. Yakupov and Grigorenko are potential franchise-changing players given what they’ve been able to do as juniors. If the Jackets wind up dealing Nash this summer, they’re going to need someone to fill his role as the offensive go-to guy and to do that they’ll need it to come from one of these future stars.

Then again, with how miserably the Blue Jackets have been run throughout their short history, blowing this situation would be all too familiar of a circumstance.

Wait, what? Nikita Filatov says he’s been promised a spot on Senators’ first or second line


As the cost to run a professional sports team inflates with each passing year, it seems like franchises are starting to warm up to the idea of making decisions based on logic rather than wild leaps of faith. It’s better for the collective blood pressure of their fan bases, but makes it less fun to ridicule bad decisions. For the sake of our collective entertainment, the NHL still has its fair share of exceptions, though.

The Ottawa Senators rank as one of the more amusing exceptions – unless you’re a fan of the team, of couse. During GM Bryan Murray’s time at the helm, the team mowed through five different coaches and lost several valuable players while rarely getting anything of value in return. Sometimes those mistakes weren’t totally Murray’s fault (Dany Heatley didn’t exactly make it easy to get fair value when he demanded a trade), but few could follow the logic of many other moves.*

In a way, it makes them a perfect match for Nikita Filatov, one of the most puzzling figures in recent draft years whom they traded for this off-season. The Columbus Blue Jackets essentially repeated history with Nikolay Zherdev when they drafted Filatov, as the right-handed Russian winger clashed with the Blue Jackets coaching staff, made an exodus to Russia and generally gave off a vibe of entitlement. (To be fair to Zherdev, he was far more productive at the NHL level than Filatov in his early days.)

It’s quite possible that the Blue Jackets deserve equal blame in his blunders – they have a horrible track record with first round draft picks not named Rick Nash, after all – but Filatov hasn’t done much to make them regret their supposed errors. He’s been especially underwhelming at the NHL level, scoring just six goals and seven assists for 13 points in 44 career games split over three seasons.

There’s nothing wrong with the Senators making a low-risk gamble that Filatov might turn things around, especially considering the Blue Jackets’ track record of developmental blunders. But of course, it could never be that simple. Dmitri Chesnokov passes along a report that Filatov claims Murray “promised” him a first or second line spot and time on the power play.


There are a few reasons why this is an interesting (and baffling) development. On one hand, it’s not that far fetched to imagine Filatov sliding into a top six forward role with Ottawa considering the Senators’ glaring lack of talent. It’s even conceivable that he might flourish in that role if he’s lucky enough to earn time with Jason Spezza, another much-derided player who happens to boast buckets of offensive talent.

That being said, it seems a bit odd (and almost anti-competitive) to promise Filatov a role before he even steps foot in training camp. It almost seems to embolden an attitude that he’s arrived already, which seems like the worst track to take with a player who is really nothing but potential right now.

Of course, there’s one possibility for the hasty promise: Filatov might consider going to the KHL instead. There are some rumblings about that being possible, but there’s nothing concrete at this time. We’ll keep an eye on this rather odd situation, but it all seems to add up to another reason why the Senators’ 20th season could be awfully ugly.

* – One of my favorites was the Chris Campoli trade. Murray sent Dean McAmmond and a first round pick to the New York Islanders for Campoli and Mike Comrie even though the Senators were clearly already out of reasonable playoff contention. The Senators ended up traded Campoli almost exactly two years later.