Nikolai Zherdev
NikolaiZherdev cropped.png
Position Right wing
Shoots Right
6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
203 lb (92 kg)
Nationality Flag of Ukraine Ukranian & Flag of Russia Russian
Born (1984-11-05)November 5, 1984,
Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, USSR
NHL Draft 4th overall, 2003
Columbus Blue Jackets
Pro Career 2002 – present

Nikolai Olegovich Zherdev (born November 5, 1984) is a Ukrainian-Russian ice hockey right winger. He is currently an unrestricted free agent.

Playing career[edit | edit source]

Early career[edit | edit source]

Born in Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Zherdev began playing hockey at age the age of 4. He began his training with the Sokil Kyiv junior hockey affiliate. Due to complications with organizing a team for his age group, he was pushed to play a year ahead with the 1983 born players; a group which included fellow future Ukrainian NHLer Anton Babchuk. While participating in an overseas peewee tournament in Quebec, Canada, Zherdev's team found itself competing against a team from Elektrostal, Russia. The rival team's coach, Ravil Iskakhov, took note of both Zherdev and Babchuk, and invited the pair to further their development with the Elemash Elektrostal hockey club of the Russian Major League, to which they accepted together.

CSKA[edit | edit source]

As his game progressed and professional teams began to take notice, Elektrostal received offers from the likes of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, Ak Bars Kazan, and CSKA of Moscow for Zherdev's services. He would accept an invitation for Elektrostal to loan him to the latter team, CSKA, citing a desire to train under esteemed coach Viktor Tikhonov.

Following being drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets, Zherdev spent the entire 2002–03 season with CSKA, but in a controversial decision, left for the NHL half way through the 2003–04 season. He would, however, return to the Russian club during the 2004–05 NHL lockout, making peace.

Columbus Blue Jackets[edit | edit source]

Zherdev was drafted by Columbus in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft with the 4th overall pick. At the time, Columbus GM Doug MacLean stated that the team had Zherdev ranked #1 on their draft list.

Zherdev with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2008

The 2005–06 NHL season was a breakout year for Zherdev, who scored 27 goals and notched 27 assists in 73 games. He was the Blue Jackets' most potent offensive threat while Rick Nash recuperated from injury, and played most of the season on the team's first line.

The 2006–07 NHL season was a low point for Zherdev, as he struggled to score consistently and frequently clashed with the Jackets coaching staff, leading to repeated rumors that he might be traded before the 2007–08 NHL season began. In response, new Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson and coach Ken Hitchcock met Zherdev in a "clean-the-slate" meeting. Zherdev has since rediscovered success on the ice.

Contract dispute[edit | edit source]

Contract negotiations with Blue Jackets management following the 2005–06 season became acrimonious. Zherdev threatened to remain in Russia for the season unless his demands were met, while Columbus insisted that Zherdev's salary demands were not commensurate with his accomplishments. On September 28, 2006, the parties finally agreed to a $7.5 million, three-year contract.

New York Rangers[edit | edit source]

On July 2, 2008, Zherdev was traded by the Blue Jackets along with Dan Fritsche to the New York Rangers for defencemen Fedor Tyutin and Christian Bäckman. In his first season with the Rangers, Zherdev tied for the team lead in points with Scott Gomez, scoring 58 points.

As a restricted free agent, Zherdev was tendered a qualifying offer of $3.25 million by the Rangers before the start of the 2009 free agency period so the team could retain his rights as the two sides negotiate. He has been rumored to be potentially signing with Atlant Moscow Oblast of the Kontinental Hockey League, of whom he formerly played with in 2006–07. Zherdev was awarded $3.9 million (USD) in arbitration, however, the New York Rangers chose to let Zherdev go. He is now an unrestricted free agent.

International play[edit | edit source]

Medal record
Competitor for Flag of Russia Russia
Men's ice hockey
World Championships
Gold 2009 Switzerland Ice hockey
World Junior Championships
Gold 2003 Canada Ice hockey
World Under-18 Championships
Silver 2002 Slovakia Ice hockey

Nikolai Zherdev represented Russia at the 2002 U-18 World Junior Championships, helping that country to a silver medal. He finished the tournament with 6 goals, 5 assists, 11 points in 8 games (third best on his team behind Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin).

Zherdev also played at the 2003 U-20 World Junior Championships, registering only 1 assist in 6 games, playing a minor role in Russia's quest for the gold medal.

He was named captain of Team Russia for the 2004 World Juniors, but did not play after departing for the NHL.

Awards and achievements[edit | edit source]

Career statistics[edit | edit source]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A P +/- PIM GP G A P +/- PIM
1999–00 Elemash-2 Elektrostal RUS-3 21 10 7 17 26 7 0 0 0 0 0
2000–01 Elemash Elektrostal RUS-2 18 6 8 14 -5 12
2001–02 Elemash-2 Elektrostal RUS-3 1 1 0 1 4
2001–02 Elemash Elektrostal RUS-2 53 13 15 28 -6 62
2002–03 CSKA Moscow RSL 44 12 12 24 6 34
2003–04 CSKA Moscow RSL 20 2 2 4 -1 14
2003–04 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 57 13 21 34 -11 54
2004–05 CSKA Moscow RSL 51 19 21 40 17 62
2005–06 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 73 27 27 54 -13 50
2005–06 Syracuse Crunch AHL 2 1 0 1 1 0
2006–07 Khimik Moscow Oblast RSL 8 2 4 6 3 10
2006–07 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 71 10 22 32 -19 26
2007–08 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 82 26 35 61 -9 34
2008–09 New York Rangers NHL 82 23 35 58 6 39 7 0 0 0 -3 2
NHL totals 365 99 140 239 -46 203 7 0 0 0 -3 2
RSL totals 123 35 39 74 22 120

International statistics[edit | edit source]

Year Team Event   GP G A Pts PIM
2002 Russia U18 8 6 5 11 22
2003 Russia WJC 6 0 1 1 2
2009 Russia WC 3 0 1 1 0
U21 totals 6 0 1 1 0
U18 totals 8 6 5 11 22

External links[edit | edit source]

Preceded by
Rick Nash
Columbus Blue Jackets first round draft pick
Succeeded by
Alexandre Picard
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