Nikolay Zherdev a Lion!
HC Lev Praha has made a big free-agent signing, landing 28-year-old Ukrainian-Russian winger Nikolay Zherdev. The veteran of 436 NHL games, mostly with the Columbus Blue Jackets, has played most of the last three seasons with Atlant Moscow Oblast. With Lev, Zherdev will wear his familiar jersey number 93.
Player Profile:Nikolay Zherdev was born in Kyiv, Ukraine and began his hockey career in the Sokil system. He first got attention international at the prestigious Peewee International Tournament in Quebec City in 1998, and was eventually persuaded to move to Russia and play for the Elemash Elektrosal club at age 14.
After gaining Russian citizenship, he played in the 2002 IIHF U18 World Championship in Slovakia, where he was a teammate of another young phenom, Alexander Ovechkin. Though Ovechkin would steal the spotlight with 18 points in eight games, Zherdev posted a respectable 11 points to help Russia to the silver medal.
After moving to CSKA Moscow and playing a year and a half in the Russian Superliga, Zherdev played in the 2004 World Junior Championship in Finland, then moved to the NHL immediately after the tournament, joining the Columbus Blue Jackets. For the better part of the next four seasons, he would be one of the Jackets´ most prolific scorers, peaking at 61 points in 2007-08 (25+36).
Zherdev was traded to the New York Rangers in the off-season--the first of six straight seasons in which he would change teams. After a year with the Rangers, he would go back to Russia to play with Atlant Moscow Oblast in the newly-formed KHL in 2009, then return to the NHL to play a year with the Philadelphia Flyers. following that, he would return to Atlant before being traded to Ak Bars Kazan midway through last season.
Zherdev is a proven scorer in the top leagues in North America and Europe. In the NHL, he scored 116 goals and added 148 assists for 264 points in 436 regular season and playoff games. In the KHL so far, he has 135 points (49+86) in 187 games. Last season, he recorded 51 points in 68 games, split between Atlant and Ak Bars, and was a big factor in Ak Bars´s run to the Eastern Conference Final. Lev hopes for the same kind of production with his new team.