Gagne update, Zherdev speaks about return to NHL

The whirlwind situation between the Flyers and disgruntled left-winger Simon Gagne took another turn Wednesday afternoon.

According to Gagne’s agent Bob Sauve, the Flyers have given his client permission to speak to other teams regarding interest.

“The Flyers have given us permission to talk to teams and we’ve been doing that, and they’ve been talking to teams, but at this point there’s not much else to say,” Sauve told ESPN.com. “We’ll keep talking and see if we can find a good place for Simon.”

Gagne is due to enter his final year of his current contract that pays him $5.25 million and also has a no-trade clause.  So, the only good that comes out of this ugly situation is Gagne has complete control of his destiny. Which he’s rightfully earned.

Newly acquired left-winger Nikolai Zherdev spoke via conference call Wed. afternoon to the media and spoke on a number of topics.

Zherdev, 25, was drafted out of the same class that produced Flyers captain Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. His most productive season came in 2007-08 as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets when he tallied 61 points (26G, 35A). Zherdev has 239 points in 365 games in five NHL seasons.

“I’m very happy to be back in the NHL,” said Zherdev. “I had some difficulty last season signing a contract in the NHL, and I made the decision to stay one season in Russia. Basically, my goal is to come to the NHL and be one of the best players and play every night, and show everybody I’m ready and that I’m an NHL player.”

Zherdev had 58 points in 82 games for the Rangers in 2008 before leaving to play in Russia.

One of the main criticism’s of Zherdev’s game is that he’s a liability in the defensive aspect of the game. Now, the 25 year-old Flyer winger believes he’s evolved himself into a more viable two-way type hockey player.

“I’ve changed my style and tried to play more in the defensive zone. I think right now I’m a two-way player,” he said. “Before I was probably more of a forward, more in the attack zone, but right now I think the last couple [of] seasons I’ve played more in the defensive zone, too.”

All in all, Zherdev was adamant when stating he’s ready for a new beginning here in Philadelphia and is really looking forward to getting on the ice with his new teammates and proving he has the tools to be productive asset.

Zherdev is expected to take Gagne’s place on the top line with Richards, but could be paired with Danny Briere or Claude Giroux.

“Right now, my goal is to come to Philadelphia and prepare for the long hockey season. I’d like to play hockey right now,” said Zherdev.

“For me, it will be new. It’s a new team, new teammates, a new coach, new organization and a new city. I still have my tools, and I’d like to show everybody I’m still a good hockey player.”

Source: ESPN, Flyers

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