The Philadelphia Flyers have signed free agent right winger Nikolai Zherdev to a one-year contract, believed to be worth between $2 and $3 million.
The Flyers get:
Zherdev is an enigmatic top-six winger who bolted for the KHL last summer. He had consecutive 20+ goal seasons with Columbus in 2007-08 (26) and New York in 2008-09 (23).
Fantasy Players impacted:
It will be interesting to see where Zherdev slots in with the Flyers. Mike Richards is a center. Daniel Briere is much more effective as a center, and the Flyers love having Claude Giroux down the middle as well. Jeff Carter prefers center to wing as well, but he is probably going to be the one who gets bumped to the wing.
This signing almost guarantees that Simon Gagne has played his last game as a Flyer. Philadelphia needs to cut some cap space and they save a few million by replacing Gagne with Zherdev. Although Gagne has struggled with injuries over the past few years, he is still a legitimate top line winger and he was one of Philadelphia’s best players in the postseason this year. Philadelphia would love to add a starter, and they are believed to be targeting Jonathan Quick or Marty Turco.
Gagne is miles better defensively than Zherdev as well.
What does this mean for Ville Leino? He has one year left on his current contract, but he now has more competition for ice time. It looks like the Flyers will put three scoring lines together. Assuming Gagne is traded...
The XXX could be Arron Asham, who is currently seeking a new contract as a free agent.
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
1. Zherdev (well, duh)
2. Gagne (if the Los Angeles rumors are true... he’ll be the go-to winger for the Kings)
3. Van Riemsdyk (Zherdev doesn’t play the left side, so he gets a huge promotion when/if Gagne is traded)
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order: