Waiting for official word


Although we pretty much know what’s going to happen with Nik Zherdev by noon today, we wait.

Glen Sather and the Rangers will walk away from his $3.9 salary-arbitration award and make him an unrestricted free agent. And unless there is somebody in the NHL a lot nuttier than we imagine, or  Zherdev greatly reduces his pricetag as a free agent, he will be out of the NHL for 2009-10.

Zherdev will have to play in Russia, in the KHL, this coming season.

And here’s what I think about that. He doesn’t compete, and I don’t know if that changes, if any coach will ever get through to him and make him competitive. So the Rangers are saying goodbye to him, and probably would have at any price. If he had signed his qualifying offer, they probably would have then traded him.

Here’s also what I think. At some point, Zherdev will get back into the NHL, at some point he will land in the right situation, and with those great hands and great skills, he will score a large number of goals — 40? — and all of you (us) will be saying, “How could the Rangers let him go?”

When the real question, if we’re honest with ourselves today, is “How could the Rangers keep him?”


PS, starting today I am on the prowl for imposters, who will be banned. Be warned.

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  1. i dont see how any coach gets through to him. He is too stubborn to play a team game…

  2. I don’t know about the fact that he won’t land with other team in the NHL this season. There are some teams with plenty of cap room for a guy like Nik… He just might have to lower his asking price by a couple thousand but nothing significant, I’d say

  3. Carp – any chance for a sign & trade, or at this point, do you think that no one’s going to take a chance? Leafs and Oilers have been mentioned a lot – you’d imagine the Oil would be most interested both due to Renney’s history with him and the fact that Heatley left a big void in their lineup. Plus they’ve got the cap space.

    Really don’t want any of their centers or D-men back that they’d be likely to part with, but at least we’d get SOMETHING.

  4. i agree that z is lazy, and his price is way to much. But i think the rangers are a better team with him than without him

  5. Petey he can’t lower his asking price. The arbitrator set his salary at $3.9 million for the year – whoever signs him has to pay that exact amount. If no one signs him, he likely goes to Russia

  6. Again, my Zherdev thoughts have been beaten to death, but everyone here really accentuates the negative with this guy- when he was our leading point man and second leading scorer at the age of 24. When Ales Kotalik has a 17 goal, 35 point season and we realize he is here for 2 more years people will understand what a mistake letting Z walk and going after Kotalik was-

  7. I don’t care one way or the other where Z lands, but it bugs me a bit that we literally gave Toots away for nothing.

  8. Adam, I believe that once the Rangers walk away and he becomes an unrestricted free agent, the $3.9 is no longer in play and he can negotiate his own contract as a UFA.

  9. NYRanger4Life on

    Our boy Eklund is reporting that Z leaving now re-opens the door on the Heatley trade.

    I may be in the minority on this blog, but I would love to have him on our roster if it doesnt cost Grachev, MDZ or Staal. As much as I heart Dubi and Cally, neither are going to be perennial 40-50 goal scorers. And if they are, it wont be in this offense. Let’s face it, we are not anywhere near a SC caliber team with the way the roster is currently constructed. If we bring in Heater, either Rozy or Redden will have to be jettisoned (to clear cap room – and thats a good thing in my book) and we’ll have two legitimate 40 goal scorers.

    Thoughts? This doesnt address our need for a playmaking center or crease clearing D…but this team would be pretty fun to watch in tort’s system.

  10. Thanks Carp, I had it wrong. Technically, then, we could walk away from the award and try to sign him as a free agent for less money…highly unlikely, of course, but still possible in theory. I wonder if he’d take less to play elsewhere.

  11. I’m going to be real twisted if Z is in the NHL next season and scores 35+ for anyone other than the Rangers. HE LED THE TEAM IN POINTS(as a full season player) HE HAS GREAT HANDS AND GREAT SKILL. That comes with a price. Look at Kovalev… when he wants to, he’s dominant.

    You guys who bash Zherdev are entirely too short sighted for your own good. HE’S 24!

  12. Heatley? There’s a real team player… but i guess if you can(but will he?) score 40, we should give him a pass on being selfish and a poor teammate?

    let’s tie the noose around our necks again by bringing another bloated salary to the team so we can’t keep anyone next season? Yea that’s a real solid move.

  13. NYRanger4Life on

    Vinny – I’d rather have a player who actually hustles, back checks, kills penalties and scores 20 goals (Higgins) than have a moody, poodle-beotch like Z.

  14. NYRANGERFORLIFE….we have that in Callahan, and i love him for his hustle and grit. But we need guys who can create and make plays, and that’s Zherdev. He can be molded into a dynamic player, and Torts can do it. I notice that you didn’t mention Heatley’s name… i thank you for that.

  15. Vinny,

    The problem is “when he wants to.” He should always want to but he is lazy and until that switch gets turned on, which it may never, he will never be the “real deal”…

  16. Question … isn’t there a limitation to Z’s ufa status if the Rangers walk away?

    I thought another team can only sign Zherdev if they meet the arbitrator’s salary (or are within a percentage of it).

    If so, another team needs to ante up the $3.9mm, or else the Rangers have the right to match.

    Just an interesting wrinkle if Z doesn’t leave for the KHL …

  17. NYRanger4Life- so we can have 12 Mike York type forwards on the team and have no chance to compete, that makes sense-

    Carp last year repetedly said that the issue on the Rangers is that they lacked world class talent- now they are letting their most talented (other than the newly signed Gabby) player go-

  18. NYRanger4Life on

    Vinny – your confusing me bud. You’re advocating keeping a player like Zherdev (who is a FANTASTIC teammate, right??) but completely dismissing adding an all world talent in Heatley?

    Not so sure I’m with you on the selfish part either…

  19. Zherdev is frustrating and not all that fun to be a fan of. You know he can do amazing things, and he doesn’t try. If I had that skill set, my god you would all be wearing my jersey!

    That is why I don’t mind seeing Zherdev leave (even though he is a top talent)

  20. Z and Heatley both have talent. Both are headaches.

    However, one actually utilizes and maximizes the potential of his talent, and the other is a waste of a roster spot half the time (and in the playoffs).

    I’m not necessarily advocating either one, but just pointing out that you need more than just “talent.” If you don’t use that talent, it’s a waste.

  21. vinny, the rangers have the gritty players like cally, dubi, drury, higgins, AND they have the players you speak of too!!

    1- gaborik
    2- anisimov
    3- grachev
    4- lisin

    maybe look at it this way. those players see how Z gets run out of town for being lazy or unmotivated and the message is loud and clear. play hard or you are gone!

  22. trading for heatley would put the Rangers in worse cap shape then before we traded Gomez.

    You cant have Drury, Redden, Gaborik, Healtey, Lundqvist all making that much money for that many years and field a stanley cup contender.

    not to mention trading for Heatley makes us better on the wings but makes us worse down the middle and worse on defense so were still no better than we are right now…

  23. flippedturtle on

    I agree it sucks watching Z walk away for nothing in return but I’m happy this thing is almost over and we’ll see them do the right thing and get Dubi signed.

  24. Heatley is an incredible, game-changing, team-defining player in the very way that Gomez was not.

    As for Z, it’s really unfortunate that no one can give this kid the perspective and appreciation for his opportunities that might make him try harder. You’d think it would take a single night of talking about life over shots of vodka with Kovalev in Little Odessa to turn this guy around, but such is the folly of youth. Too bad or him. Too bad for the Rangers.

  25. Do you think Sather’s ego might weigh into his decisions here? Seems like he was outmaneuvered by Zherdev, who apparently wants to be a UFA…

  26. 12 Mike Yorks would be ok with me. Since when is 50-60 pts. and a ton of hustle a problem?

    Sounds like Zherdev with a work ethic.

  27. Dr. Ogrodnick on

    What is going on here? I log on to talk about Crazy Joe Davola and Fusilli Jerry, yet you people are talking hockey.

  28. Again, lots of people wanted Kotalik, hopefully at the end of the year you stick by that- there are many worse guys you can have on the second line than Zherdev-

  29. Joe in DE (the real one) on

    Look, I don’t want Zherdev on the team either, but to let him walk for NOTHING seems ridiculous. Sign him and deal him for whatever, draft picks, pucks, a new shooter-tutor, GET SOMETHING. Hudler is going overseas, get Detroit on the line. There are plenty of teams that would make a deal for a perennial 60 point scorer, for less than 4 million, with no real committment on a 1 year deal. And since it would be necessary to dump his salary, he’d be even more tradeable since we wouldn’t be looking for an even trade, maybe a decent prospect, a solid 4th liner, or a second round pick. Let’s face it, for a team looking to get better fast, adding a young, guaranteed 60 point player is a good way to do it without hurting yourself long term

  30. Zherdev was out of place in Renney’s system because he’s a one-way player. His back-checking was ‘occasional’, the same as his board work.
    In comes Tortorella, and you think “Wow – this is Z’s chance!”. Errr…not exactly – and suprisingly for much the same reason – his forechecking/board work.
    I was a bit surprised when Sather did not go to arbitration hearing himself. That, it appeared, meant that he really didn’t have a lot of interest in retaining Zherdev.

    Carp – why wouldn’t they just sign him? If he’s going to walk away from $3.9mm regardless of whether its from the Rangers or another club to play in the NHL – at least they’d retain his rights ?

  31. they’ll be banned if they mis-spell Thomson, and if they are any age other than 26.

    Dr. O, sorry. We’ll get back to our regularly-scheduled Seinfeld programming soon.

  32. Dr. Ogrodnick on

    Walking away from Zherdev is poor business. Sign him and trade him, even if its just for a pick. If nobody wants him, bury him in Hartford or let him get claimed off of waivers.

  33. Was Nikolai Zherdev really that horrible last year that so many people want him outta here in a hurry?

    and in playoffs, he didnt do much, i know, but neither did oh so beloved Avery with -2 and *24 PIM* Or proven “leader” and a great team mate captain clutch with negative 5

  34. If Z gets signed and traded (long shot by any estimations) look for a trade to EDM for Rob Schremph.

    Richards is still an option. I felt yesterday that signing Z and Dubi would be the SMART moves. But knowing what I know, this is all a moot point regarding Z. He is done as a Ranger, and anything that we got for Z would be gravy.

    Slats should sign him out of spite and trade him for Schremph to EDM just to screw him back.

  35. Coming this close to the deadline to me likely means we walk away- not very happy about losing an asset for nothing over 650k when we literally overpay everyone on our team. I’m sure Dubinsky will reap the rewards-

  36. Just Another question

    it wasnt that Z was bad it was that Tortorella has a specific system and style of play and Zherdev is too stubborn and full of himself to play that way.

    the Rangers felt that Kotalik’s PP production was more important than Zherdev’s 5 on 5 production…

  37. Joe in DE (the real one) on

    Dr. Ogrodnick, letting him get claimed off of waivers is the difference between carrying a 7th defenseman and signing Dubinsky or not. Letting him get claimed off of waivers puts an extra 1.95 million against our cap this year for a player who will never see the ice in a Rangers sweater. As cap choked as we are we can’t afford that. He’d need to be buried in Hartford and never called up, and we’d need to eat the 3.9 million ourselves for the season. We couldn’t trade him either, as I’m pretty sure he’d need to pass through re-entry waivers, where he’d be claimed for 1/2.

  38. No one is going to offer anything for Zherdev when they know they can wait another hour and negotiate with him freely.

    I can’t believe I actually found myself agreeing once again with Brooks’ assessment in the Post today.

    While it will stink to lose Zherdev’s goals, the guy is totally one dimensional. Say what you will about Renney but three NHL coaches have now had issues with this guy – I don’t think that is a coincidence. Good riddance.

    Sather took a chance on Zherdev, it didn’t pay off but oh well. I don’t remember being so impressed by Tyutin’s play that I thought he was untouchable. To be frank, if that arbitrator had actually ruled more realistically (not just split most of the difference) to something like $3.5mn and the Rangers kept him – I still would have considered that a decent trade.

  39. adam from blue notes on

    This is complete B.S that Sather got nothing in return for Z most likely. I am not happy right now. We basically gave up Tyutin for nothing also. Way to go Glen.

    I honestly think that if anyone has ever seen the Ringer that the Glen in that movie is smarter than our G.M.

  40. Heatley is a cancer for team chemistry. We’ve heard all about his whining and you can imagine what he’s like inside the locker room. Let me share a little story with you folks about what he is like outside the locker room and when the team is off the ice.

    In the fall of ’05, the year after the lock-out, some NHL teams played exhibition games at the site of their minor league affiliate in order to reach out to the fan base the NHL lost touched with during the year off. The Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins played each other in a little “home and home” series in their respective minor league arenas in Binghamton and Scranton. I was a sophmore at Binghamton at the time and went to the game with some friends.

    After the game we decided, since we were already downtown, we’d head to the bars even though most people don’t make their way down their until after midnight. We get to Uncle Tony’s around 10:30 and have a few drinks in a relatively empty bar. About an hour later I go to bathroom. Its a tiny bathroom, just one stall and one urinal. I walk out of the stall and Zdeno Chara is standing at the sink washing his hands. So I started talking to him about the game and the upcoming season and we walk out of the bathroom and he introduces me to some of the guys from the team. Chris Neil, Spezza, Volchenkov, and Hasek (not everyone made the trip to the game. Alfredson stayed up in Ottawa) were there and as we’re talking all of my girl friends happen to walk into the bar and come up to me. So Neil says, unsurprisingly, we’re hanging with this guy!

    The bar’s owner sections off a little area for the players to hang out in without being mobbed by everyone and they let myself and my friends hang out there. I’m talking to Spezza about the game and I noticed that Heatley, who played in the game, wasn’t in the bar. So I asked him why he wasn’t hanging out with the rest of the guys on the team and Spezza points towards the back of the bar where they have some tables set up. Everyone usually crowds around the bar in this place, so the table area is generally desolate at this hour. That night it was vacant except for one person – sure enough it was Heatley sitting there by himself with a beer.

    Spezza told me he couldn’t believe he even came out and that usually he keeps to himself. When one of my friends went up to wish him luck on the season he told him to leave him alone and left a good hour before the rest of the team cleared out of the bar without telling the team he was heading back to the team hotel. Clearly not the type of guy you want on your team if you’re looking beyond skillsets. Just from that little encounter I could tell he was a loner and brings down the mood of those around him. NOT someone that should be on a Ranger team that needs the team first mentality that Torts is trying to foster with his five pronged attack, up-tempo system.

    On a fun side note, the nice guy to talk with was Hasek. I remember how a few years before that he got fined for breaking a photographer’s camera so I was a little hesitant to strike up a conversation with him but he was a really cool guy. Very soft spoken, but engaging and he even bought my friends and I a round of shots that he took with us. He’s so average looking it’s hard to believe he is one of the greatest goaltenders to ever play the game. He’s about 5’9 and gangly – my friend who doesn’t know much about hockey thought he was the coach of the team.

    Anyway, thought that was worth a share. When I told Neil I was a Rangers fan he told me to drop my gloves (joking of course). He’d be an awesome guy to bring onto the team…much better than Brash. Couldn’t imagine a locker room with him and Aves.

  41. Good story A F L Y. . . . . .

    Maybe he has a friend’s untimely death on his conscience. . . .

  42. A F L Y that is a nice story I just wonder if Heater was always like that or was this a result of the life changing accident that he was involved in killing one of his best friends down in ATL.

  43. Dammit Carp …

    You did it to me again, with the whole “new post” after i posted on the last thread.


    I think it is a mistake to walk away from Zherdev. He was tied on our team in points, was 2nd in goals, was 2nd in +/-, and is only 24 years old !!!!!

    I know he is a pain, but isnt that why we hired Torts in the first place?? To whip under-achieving players like Z into shape??


  44. A Fly

    excellent story. so many people forget the little things like that are so important when it comes to building a team. some guys like Zherdev and Heatley rub people the wrong way and aren’t very well liked.

    you dont want players like that in your lockerroom and while they might be better players stats wise, they dont make you a better team…

  45. The Rangers could accept the decision on

    We don’t have to be under the cap until the start of training camp or opening day… Could hold onto him and try for a trade.

  46. How is Kotalik worth 3million but Z not worth the extra .9?

    Huggybear and Kotalik over Z and Betts… I just don’t get it…

  47. Yeah, Gomez’ great lockeroom personality brought so much to the team. I say screw that. I would take talent over comraderie any day.

  48. Good point, but then again, last season all we heard about was how nice everyone on the team was and how they all got along so well….lot of good that did us

  49. Joe in DE (the real one) on

    A F L Y, that’s an awesome story. I don’t get why some of you guys have such a hard-on for Heatley. We got Gaborik. Getting Heatley doesn’t fix the problem we have of not having a number 1 center. In fact, it only makes it worse. We need depth at the center and on D. Make it happen, Glen

  50. Carp

    What do you think about sather having a “gentleman’s” agreement with another GM. Sather agrees to let Z walk so another GM can sign him to a contract with terms they like, then that GM trades us something sather wants for a contract or marginal player? Could this be in the works???

  51. Wicky

    You can’t have an agreement when you have no control over where Z goes, can you?

  52. adam from blue notes on

    Huge mistake if we let Z walk for nothing. I will never forget this. I swear every time Sather does something good in the off season and takes a step forward he goes on and does something stupid and we take 2 steps back.

    What was the point of going after Z if we had no intentions of keeping him after a year?Sather should have gotten rid of him when Free Agency opened up in July. When Sather signed Kotalik he basically showed every team his cards and now we are about to lose Z for nothing.

  53. Didn’t want to bring up the Snyder accident. I’m no psychoanalyst and don’t need to make a diagnosis. I think we can all agree that an accident of that nature will affect the makeup of a person.

    Based on what I was told by his teammates it just sounds like he’s a very private and very cold person . When you’re hanging with the rest of the team though that gets along with each other and can share some drinks and laughs, and it can be any sports team professional or recreational, not just this group of guys, you see how a bond like that can carry over onto the ice and make an actual difference in the game.

  54. The coach doesn’t want Zherdev. He wants a team-first, hard-nosed aggressive team and Zherdev is too soft and not willing to play that style. i dont understand why some of you cant come to terms with that.

    obviously Zherdev wasnt going to succeed in this system so why waste a roster spot on someone you know cant do the job…he might score 30 goals someplace else but he wouldnt do it here so that is all that matters…

    Tortorella’s Rangers are better with Kotalik than Zherdev…

  55. Just so you know – Russia just released its Olympic roster, and Zerdev is NOT on it! That should say something! I agree with not signing him for 3.9! The only problem I have with all this is that we lost a great top 4 D-man in Toots!

  56. Carp,

    BTW, I really am Wicky229 (no one would want to impersonate that screen name anyhow), please don’t ban me and my crease clearing, hard hitting D man starved personality!! Speaking of that, how about acquiring the russian hammer volchenkov from the sens???

  57. Just saying –

    I’m just telling you what I saw and what I heard from guys who played with Heatley. No one went as far to say that it negatively impacted the team and I’m not trying to make the argument that a player’s positive attitude in the locker room translates to results on the ice or vice-versa.

    I just thought I would add another element to the mix since we’ve discussed the pro’s and con’s of Heatley ad-nauseum the past few weeks. As someone who has played hockey from mites through midgets, I am confident in saying that comraderie goes a long way. When you play on a line with a bunch of guys you’re good friends with or get on well with it add’s a little more motivation to your game.

  58. Joe in DE (the real one) on

    We officially pissed away a top 4 defenseman. Sather makes Dale Tallon look like GM of the year


    Yes i am advocating to keep Zherdev even if it’s all but over at this point. This Heatley saga casts a HUGE shadow on his character as a player and teammate. Zherdev bumped his head and wanted too much money, but heck that’s common in todays NHL.

    We are not going to win a Cup with 3 lines of Chris Higgins/Ryan Callahan type players. I pray Gaborik stays healthy, and Heatley may have worldly skill, but Z has plenty of talent and is YOUNG. One season does not a player make,
    If you’d rather have the false security of a big name, all you’ll end up with is disappointment when they don’t deliver. Remember the Cup chatter when the signed Drury and Gomez? Or when Gretzky came? Or Lindros, Bure…. etc. That list goes on and on.

    When Z gets run out of town, and if he stays in the NHL, he’ll be the latest to get added to the Ranger Killer List.

    You can put a Heatley poster on your wall fella…. but it don’t mean squat on the ice or in that locker room.

  60. Next thing, we’ll see if Zherdev overplayed his hand- does he get more than 3.25 million per from someone? My guess is yes, but we’ll see-

    Oh well, he’s gone, no use crying over spilled Zherdev-

  61. big mistake !!!!

    i would think some teams would have preferred NYR “locking him in” to a definite deal would better suit them then having to over-pay when Z becomes a UFA

    Like Edmonton for example has a hard enough time attracting UFA’s so it would benefit them to have NYR make the deal then trade him

  62. somerset

    maybe Edmonton doesnt want Zherdev b/c he’s a whiny little baby that noone seems to like (including Renney)

  63. I just thought slats might have been playing poker and saying I could trade him here for this, but if I let him walk so you can get him, will you send me this type thing. Sorry, it was just a thought!

  64. sweet…. now we can overpay and grab locker room killer Heatley!! and wreck our cap for the next however many years!! C’mon Sather… pick up the phone and bury this franchise!!

  65. i dont get how we could qualify him for 3.25 mill and not be willing to spend the extra 650k to keep him??

    Like it or not, he was a team leader in every category last year and is only 24 !!! I DONT GET IT

  66. This just in…. Eklund is reporting that Ranger’s trainer Jim Ramsey has asked the Team to spend money on a ‘Gaborik recovery room’ to be added to their facility!
    The reported cost…. $3.82 million per season against the cap…. sorry Zherdev…. Gabby needs the hot tub!

  67. Dr. Ogrodnick on

    Joe in DE:

    The Rangers would have only paid half of Zherdev’s salary if he was claimed on re-entry waivers, not if he was claimed on his way down to Hartford. Of course its all moot now. Good one Slats, hosed by Columbus.

  68. IMHO is a ticket back to russia and a sports psychologist to pick him up at the airport. is he magnitagorsk bound?

    its a shame that the real nik zherdev never stood up. ya, hes young. but ya, he was drafted 6 years ago. with the exception of huge speciman (barf, sorry i brought him up) from that draft year, look at what the others have become.

    like it or not, know it or not, WE DODGED A BULLET HERE by walking away from zherdev.

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