Flyers finally cut ties with winger Zherdev

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Flyers finally cut ties with winger Zherdev

Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Posted: 12:23 p.m. Updated: 4:57 p.m.

By Tim PanaccioCSNPhilly.com

The short, unhappy Flyers career of Nikolay Zherdev ended rather harmoniously on Wednesday afternoon at Skate Zone.

Grinning ear-to-ear for the first time in weeks, Zherdev left the building saying No to interviews, hopped in a black Lincoln Town Car, and rode off into the sunset.

His agent, Jay Grossman, had asked general manager Paul Holmgren over the weekend in New York to waive him. Grossman felt there would be interest in his clients talents elsewhere. Holmgren complied.

For more than a month, Holmgren had tried to trade Zherdev, but was unsuccessful.

His agent and Nik obviously theyre not very happy with the situation and asked us to look around for options; nothing really came of that through trade, Holmgren said. Well see what happens with this.

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.

Zherdev could also remain on the Flyers roster after clearing, but thats unlikely.

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.

If hes not picked up, Im not sure what direction were going to go, Holmgren said. Ill think about that. Hes pretty good insurance if one of your skill guys gets hurt.

Zherdev, 26, scored 15 goals in 47 games for the Flyers, yet struggled to remain in the lineup because of his sloppy work ethic. Hed be brilliant one shift, then slack off for two others.

He last played Feb. 10 when the Flyers hosted Carolina, earning just 7:59 in ice time, and registering one shot on goal.

He was a healthy scratch for six consecutive games under coach Peter Laviolette, who makes just one demand of his players: Make a consistent effort.

Zherdev came here with the reputation of having enormous skill, but terrible work ethics in both Columbus and with the Rangers.

The Flyers signed him last summer in free agency, taking a chance they could rehabilitate him coming back to the NHL from the KHL in Russia.

It didnt work.

It was a little bit of an experiment, Holmgren said. Seeing what he can do. For a period of time it was good.

Obviously, he has 15 goals and limited power play time, limited minutes, but over the course of time here, things have eroded and Niks work ethic has dropped off. Right now, hes just not fitting in.

That Zherdev was scratched for games in Carolina, New York and Phoenix, when the Flyers could have used another skill forward, but instead chose enforcer Jody Shelley, says it all.

Holmgren also said Zherdev didnt respond the right way to being a healthy scratch.

There was no way Laviolette was going to play Zherdev again as a Flyer.

When it comes to Nik, a lot of the decisions we make in the locker room are based on where somebody is going to fit in the lineup, Laviolette said.

If you have penalty killers and different role players on the fourth line and now youre talking about the top nine spots. When it came to what I saw within the game itself in those spots, I had other players playing better, in my opinion. I dont have a problem with Nik.

But weve been relatively healthy ... And it was difficult to find the place for him to play where he could have an impact in the game.

Laviolette also said that Zherdevs level of play wasnt consistent versus others on the club.

Although the Flyers have just six healthy defensemen Oskars Bartulis remains out with a suspected severe left shoulder injury while Sean ODonnell returned following a sprained left knee Holmgren said he had no plans to use Zherdevs potential cap savings to bring up a defenseman or make a deal right now.

The NHL trade deadline is 3 p.m. Monday. The Flyers would like a veteran defenseman who is going into free agency this summer so as to ease their cap hit next year.

Youre barking up the wrong tree, Holmgren replied when asked whether Zherdevs waiving was tied to creating space to add a d-man. other than the fact Zherdev is on waivers doesnt mean theres a follow-up to this.
Loose pucks
Scottie Upshall's hit on Bartulis Tuesday night earned him a two-game suspension. ... Holmgren said Bartulis' injury was "left shoulder instability" and more would be known Thursday. ... Speaking of defensive options: Matt Walker needs minor arthroscopic knee surgery and will be unavailable for at least one month. The Flyers could call up Danny Syvret or Erik Gustafsson. Bartulis was to undergo an MRI on his left shoulder late Wednesday. I dont think its great, Holmgren said about Bartulis availability. Incidentally, though Zherdev had a drivers license, he used a limo service to and from practices and games the entire time he was here because he did not have a car.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at tpanotch@comcast.net
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End to End: Which Flyer has the most to prove in 2016-17?

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End to End: Which Flyer has the most to prove in 2016-17?

Each week, we'll ask questions about the Flyers to our resident hockey analysts and see what they have to say.

Going End to End this week are Tom Dougherty, Jordan Hall and Greg Paone, all producers/reporters for CSNPhilly.com.

The question: Which Flyer has the most to prove in 2016-17?

Dougherty
Scott Laughton will be given every opportunity to prove himself, and if there is any single player under contract on this Flyers roster with the most to prove, it's Laughton.

Laughton, the 20th overall pick in 2012, is coming off his first full season with the Flyers and he left much to be desired. He struggled to stay in the top nine and found himself a healthy scratch for seven games during the most crucial stretch of the season.

What concerns me about Laughton is Dave Hakstol struggled to find a position for him. Laughton is a natural center and the original thought process was he would play center in the NHL, which he still very well may. But Laughton ended up playing some wing this season, too. It was similar to what the Flyers were doing with Brayden Schenn in 2014-15.

Still, Laughton, who turns 22 on Monday, failed to show much at either position. He finished with seven goals and 21 points in 71 games. He found his way into the lineup for three games in the playoffs because of Sean Couturier's shoulder injury and showed little before suffering a scary injury that left him motionless on the ice for a few minutes.

We've said it before — Laughton will have every chance to earn his spot on the opening night roster in training camp. The Flyers won't give up on him after one disappointing season, but Laughton has to come to camp in shape and with an edge we haven't seen yet.

Looking into our crystal ball, the orange and black could have one or two more forwards from outside the organization in camp come September and Travis Konecny will be hungry to crack the lineup. Laughton is going to have competition for his spot on the roster.

And he has to prove to Hakstol, general manager Ron Hextall and the Flyers he deserves it.

Hall
There will be no shortage of pressure for Jakub Voracek next season.
 
Not much went his way this past season, the first after signing an eight-year, $66 million extension following his career year in 2014-15.
 
He started slow. He changed positions. He got hurt and then played through it.
 
It all culminated in a taxing and disappointing season.
 
So, if anyone, Voracek has the most to prove in 2016-17. He’ll want to show that his career season was no fluke, that he can produce near that clip and is worth the hefty deal doled out by the Flyers.
 
Voracek’s health/production will be one of the hottest storylines to start the season.

Paone
No player on the Flyers’ roster has more to prove next season than Voracek.
 
Remember how great he was in 2014-15 when he finished fourth in the NHL with 81 points after leading the league for much of the year in that category, was named an All-Star for the first time in his career and earned a massive eight-year, $66 million extension shortly thereafter?
 
Those contract numbers are important because what Voracek has to prove this season lies in those numbers. His play last season wasn’t necessarily befitting of someone with that type of contract.
 
Voracek put up solid numbers last season with 11 goals and 44 assists in 73 games, but he just didn’t have the same effectiveness that he did in the prior season. If you recall, it took him 17 games to net his first goal of the season, an overtime winner in Carolina on Nov. 14. His ineffectiveness caused Dave Hakstol to move Voracek up and down the lineup and even send him over to the opposite wing, a position Voracek had rarely ever played before.
 
It just so happens that contract extension kicks in this season.
 
The soon-to-be 27-year-old forward holds himself to incredibly high standards. He’ll be out to prove to himself this season was an anomaly and make sure people know he’s a star worthy of those contract numbers.

Claude Giroux, Shayne Gostisbehere excited to represent Canada, North America in World Cup

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Claude Giroux, Shayne Gostisbehere excited to represent Canada, North America in World Cup

Flyers captain Claude Giroux has a word of advice for rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere when the two meet each other as opponents in this fall's World Cup of Hockey.

"The last few weeks, I told him to keep his head up," Giroux said Friday night on a conference call after both players were added to World Cup rosters.

"I'm pretty excited to go on the forecheck against him. It's pretty impressive what this kid has been able to do this year. To see it right beside him, he's got so much potential.
 
"To be on this team will only help him be better."
 
Giroux was named to Team Canada's roster, while Gostisbehere, the NHL's top rookie defenseman, was penciled in on Team North America (see story).

You may recall Giroux was overlooked by Team Canada for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
 
"That was a little disappointing," Giroux said. "Any time you have a chance to represent your country and go play for them, you hope to get the call. I was a little disappointed for that. To be able to be on this team, I'm excited and I"m ready for the challenge."

Team North America is a unique blend of age 23-and-under players who will compete in the eight-team tournament starting in mid-September.

Whether the veteran athletes competing for other countries take this young stars contingent seriously on the international stage is subject to debate.

"I hope some teams would take us seriously," Gostisbehere said, "because I think we're pretty darn good. It's a different dynamic.
  
“You don’t have the veteran presence per say, but some of the guys on the team have been playing in the NHL for three years already. It’s definitely going to be a fun experience.”
 
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was also named to the tournament, playing for Team Europe.
 
“I am really surprised and excited,” Bellemare said in a statement. “I am happy that the way I played with the Flyers has helped me get a chance to play in the World Cup for Team Europe. I think this is going to be a celebration of hockey and it is surreal that I get to be in the middle of it.”
 
Both Giroux and Gostisbehere have been rehabbing at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey, since their hip and abdominal surgeries on May 17.

Bellemare will go into the tournament fully healthy, while Giroux and Gostisbehere will not. Giroux had reservations about undergoing surgery if it meant his exclusion from the tournament, sources said.
 
“The surgery was a little question mark,” Giroux said. “Maybe not so much for me, but for them. I don’t know what they were thinking. The rehab has gone very well right now. There’s no issue as to why I wouldn’t be ready for that tournament.”
 
Gostisbehere is no stranger to serious rehab from surgery. He missed nearly all of the 2014-15 season as a Phantom with a torn ACL in his left knee.
 
“It’s the same sort of rehab I did with my knee,” Gostisbehere said of his current rehab.  “We’re going to keep going down the line knowing something is at the end of the line for us. We gotta really focus.”
 
The 23-year-old Gostisbehere, who is a finalist for the Calder Trophy, which will be announced in late June, said he was humbled by the selection.
 
“It’s a tremendous honor,” he said. “The whole format of the tournament is pretty cool to see. … It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
 
The Flyers have eight players competing. Chicago has an NHL-high of 12.

Claude Giroux, Shayne Gostisbehere, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare added to World Cup rosters

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Claude Giroux, Shayne Gostisbehere, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare added to World Cup rosters

Turns out the hip and abdominal surgeries for both Flyers captain Claude Giroux and rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere weren’t a deterrent from making their countries’ respective World Cup of Hockey rosters.
 
Also going will be center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who was added to Team Europe’s roster.
 
All three Flyers were “add-ons” to Team Canada, Team North America and Team Europe as the final rosters were announced on Friday night.
 
The World Cup of Hockey tournament begins in September 17 and ends on Oct. 1.

Giroux, 28, has twice represented Canada at the World Championships and once in World Junior competition.
 
Gostisbehere, 23,  represented the U.S. internationally once the World Juniors. Team North America is all players 23-and-under or “Young Stars” as some refer to them.
 
Despite his poorest offensive output in three years, Giroux still led the Flyers with 67 points this season, playing in his 500th career game and scoring his 500th point. He won the Bobby Clarke Trophy as team MVP.
 
Gostisbehere took the NHL by storm as a November fill-in for the injured Mark Streit and ended up becoming a Calder Trophy finalist. That award will be announced in late June. 
 
He quickly ended up as the team’s first unit power play quarterback, and led all rookie defensemen in points (46), while establishing several club rookie records, including goals by a Flyers defenseman (17).
 
Gostisbehere was voted the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the team’s best defenseman and the Gene Hart Memorial Award, given by the Flyers’ fan club to the players possessing the most “heart.”
 
Bellemare, 32, had 14 points this season as a valuable fourth line checking center and penalty killer. He also celebrated his 100th game as a Flyer. He figures to be a role player for Team Europe.
 
Ghost and Giroux both had off-season surgery on May 17. Their recovery is approximately 10-12 weeks. Both are expected at Flyers’ training camp in September.
 
Incidentally, the Flyers had just 167 man-games lost due to injury this past season. That’s the fewest number of injuries since 1998-99 when they had 120.
 
In all, the Flyers will send eight players – Bellemare, Giroux, Gostisbehere, center Sean Couturier (North America), defenseman Mark Streit (Team Europe), and three players from the Czech Republic – defenseman Radko Gudas, goalie Michal Neuvirth and forward Jakub Voracek.
 
Eight teams will compete in the tournament with every game being played at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
 
Philadelphia was one of the host cities for the inaugural World Cup of Hockey in 1996 when the Wells Fargo Center first opened as the CoreStates Center.