If you were hoping to see Nikolay Zherdev land a job with your favorite team to give them an offensive boost, your hopes are about to be ruined.
According to Yahoo’s Dmitry Chesnokov, Zherdev is headed back to the KHL. Zherdev will be signing a deal with his former team in Russia, Atlant Mytishchi, where he’ll team up with another big NHL name in Alex Kovalev. Kovalev signed with Atlant last week after being unable to find work in the NHL for next season.
Zherdev had one of the more up and down seasons with Philadelphia last season as he was on a constant loop going in and out of coach Peter Laviolette’s dog house. When he played, he was a good offensive producer for the Flyers scoring 15 goals and six assists in 56 games while averaging just 12:51 per game in ice time. Despite his good play on occasion, his effort level didn’t meet Laviolette’s needs consistently enough and the Flyers did attempt to waive him last year but found no takers.
At 26 years-old, Zherdev is taking his second leave of absence from the NHL to play in Russia. While we’ve seen him and others leave the NHL for the KHL and come back, we haven’t seen anyone do it twice. Zherdev is young enough and has enough talent to play in the NHL, but you have to wonder if NHL GMs and coaches have perhaps had their fill of Zherdev.
It’d be a shame if this is it for him as an NHL player as he does have offensive skill set that makes him a unique player to have in that role. With the way the NHL stresses quality play both offensively and defensively, perhaps Zherdev will have to strengthen his two-way play to earn a return trip back to North America.