Remember about two weeks ago when it was reported that Nik Antropov was asking for a contract in the range of $4M+? It appears that Nik Zherdev has more in common with Mr. Antropov than just a first name. Zherdev according to today's NY Post is asking for a contract in the $4.5M per season range. I know that Glen Sather's generosity when it comes to handing out contracts is probably going to continue to come back to burn him, because every player from now until God knows when is going to ask for way more than they are actually worth.
According to the NY Post:
Antropov hit the UFA market and as I predicted got signed by one of the smaller market teams that typically has a problem signing UFAs. That is probably what Nik Zherdev and his agent are hoping for, another guy that is all about the "Benjamins". If that's his mentality, then let him walk.
As it was, there was debate within the organization whether to qualify Zherdev at the required $3.25 million price tag after his uneven season that frustrated both Tom Renney and John Tortorella.
Now, with Zherdev seeking a contract believed in the neighborhood of $4.5M, there's little doubt the Blueshirts would walk away from an arbitration award that's even a nickel more than $3.25M, and thus make the 24-year-old winger an unrestricted free agent.
There isn't much out there on the free agent market as far as top-6 forwards go, but hopefully if the Rangers and Zherdev don't get something worked out the Rangers can replace Zherdev with a forward who can put the puck in the back of the net. The scary thing is I envision a replacement along the lines of a Maxim Afinogenov.