Nikolay Zherdev’s tenure in Philadelphia has most likely come to an end.
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren stated this afternoon that he placed the 26-year-old forward on waivers.
"His agent and Nik, they’re obviously not happy with the situation here," Holmgren said. "They’d asked us to look around for options. Nothing really came of that through trades, so we’ll see what happens with this."
In his first season with the Flyers, the native of the Ukraine notched 15 goals and 19 points in 47 appearances, but has not suited up since February 10.
Just last Friday, Zherdev apparently went missing somewhere within the RBC Center in Raleigh before the Flyers-Hurricanes contest, forcing the club to insert Jody Shelley at the last minute when Mike Richards was suddenly felled by flu-like symptoms just before face-off.
Holmgren also stated that no teams have inquired about the so-called enigmatic winger, who returned to the NHL in October after one season in Russia’s Continental Hockey League.
"I think at times for me it was just the level of play," Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette said. "It wasn’t the skill thing, it was the level that he played. There were other guys that were performing better. So there’s only nine that can go in there — the nine I felt were playing."
Teams have 24 hours to claim Zherdev. Should he clear by tomorrow afternoon, he could be sent to the minors, but for a veteran who is so discontent in his situation here, that is not a likely scenario. What may be more likely since he has not drawn any interest from NHL clubs, is that Russia could come calling once more.
The Kiev-born forward notched 13 goals and 39 points in 52 games for Atlant Moscow in 2009-10 after the New York Rangers declined his one-year contract awarded by an arbitrator.
Per Tim Panaccio of Comcast SportsNet:
If Zherdev clears waivers, he could be assigned to the Phantoms, in which case his $2 million salary comes off the salary cap.
If Zherdev refuses to go to the Phantoms, he would be suspended and his money comes off the cap. If he bolts for the KHL, his money is off the cap.
Going into Wednesday, the Flyers had about $1.7 million in cap space. If someone claims Zherdev, the cost is about $400,000 unless that team has a player on long-term injury. Then they would assume his full salary.