According to Larry Brooks in today’s New York Post, the Rangers could walk away from any arbitration award that Zherdev might get. The Rangers qualified Zherdev at $3.25M to retain his rights, but the Ukrainian born winger filed for salary arbitration. If the arbiter should award more than the qualifying offer, the team may elect to decline it, making Zherdev a UFA.
It would be a disappointing end to his Rangers’ career if it comes to that, but his performances under John Tortorella particularly, are such that his value to the team is less definitive at this point. Add in the addition of right wing Marian Gaborik and left wing Christopher Higgins, and there’s less reason to keep him around. Freeing up $3.25M in Cap space would also give the team some options in terms of acquiring a center such as Michal Rozsival or Patrick Marleau.
The Rangers appear to have an oversupply of young defensemen, so could potentially offer one of those up along with a player like Michal Rozsival in return.
Anyway, there’s plenty of rumor and speculation in Brooks’ column so check it out.
In other news, the Rangers came to terms with RFA Christopher Higgins yesterday on a one year $2.25M deal. The one year deal will enable Higgins to become a UFA next Summer if he so desires.