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5 октября 2008 года. 
Rangers hope Zherdev will be force on offense // Newsday


Scott Gomez is a playmaker. Markus Naslund is a scorer. But Nikolas Zherdev, says Naslund, "is a game-breaker. He can make those plays a lot of guys can't."

During the summer, some Rangers fans hoped free-agent center Mats Sundin would be wearing No. 13 on Broadway this season. Instead, it is Zherdev, the 23-year-old Ukrainian right wing with tremendous skills - and questions about his potential - who will wear that sweater.

Obtained in a July 2 trade from the Blue Jackets with Dan Fritsche for defensemen Fedor Tyutin and Christian Backman, the 6-2, 205-pound Zherdev had 26 goals and 35 assists in 2007-08.

With Columbus, Zherdev scored goals in five consecutive games and had seven power-play goals. His 254 shots were five more than Jaromir Jagr and would have been second to Brendan Shanahan on last season's Rangers team.

So there's no doubt about his ability; he scored 27 goals in his rookie season. But in 2006-07, he clashed with Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock, was guilty of carrying the puck too often, was scratched at times and produced only 10 goals.

But after the trade, Hitchcock endorsed the youngster's capabilities and progress. "He felt [Nik] had a lot to offer up offensively," said Rangers coach Tom Renney, relating a conversation with Hitchcock. "There are some quirks in his game that suggest maybe over-handling the puck and not distributing it as quickly as he should. But Ken said he really came a long way in his game of being more of a North American-style player . . . He saw him going only north and up."

Zherdev clicked with Brandon Dubinsky in the final preseason games and has extra incentive. He's in the final year of a contract paying him $2.5 million. If he duplicates or surpasses his 27-goal rookie season, the Rangers will be a suitor next summer.

Страничка Николая Жердева на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


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