Nikolai Zherdev
NikolaiZherdev cropped
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 November 5 1984 (1984-11-05) (age 35),
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 careerEdit

Early careerEdit

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.


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 JacketsEdit

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 disputeEdit

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 RangersEdit

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 playEdit

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 achievementsEdit

Career statisticsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
SeasonTeamLeague GPGAP+/-PIM GPGAP+/-PIM
1999–00 Elemash-2 Elektrostal RUS-3 211071726 700000
2000–01 Elemash Elektrostal RUS-2 186814-512
2001–02 Elemash-2 Elektrostal RUS-3 11014
2001–02 Elemash Elektrostal RUS-2 53131528-662
2002–03 CSKA Moscow RSL 44121224634
2003–04 CSKA Moscow RSL 20224-114
2003–04 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 57132134-1154
2004–05 CSKA Moscow RSL 511921401762
2005–06 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 73272754-1350
2005–06 Syracuse Crunch AHL 210110
2006–07 Khimik Moscow Oblast RSL 8246310
2006–07 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 71102232-1926
2007–08 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 82263561-934
2008–09 New York Rangers NHL 82233558639 7000-32
NHL totals 36599140239-46203 7000-32
RSL totals 123 35 39 74 22 120

International statisticsEdit

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 linksEdit

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