TORONTO CANADA - DECEMBER 9: Phil Kessel #81 of the Toronto Maple Leafs chases Nikolay Zherdev #93 of the Philadelphia Flyers during game action at the Air Canada Centre December 9 2010 in Toronto Ontario Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Nikolay Zherdev is headed back to Russia. The former Flyers winger will join Atlant in the KHL next season, presumably on a one-year deal, and this very likely could mean the end of his NHL career. The news was passed along by Slava Malamud of Russia's Sports Express.
Now defecting to Russia for the second time in his still-young career, it's really hard to see another team giving Zherdev a shot here. The saddest part of the entire saga is that the Flyers, in my opinion, could still use him as a scoring threat, and he definitely still deserves a spot in the NHL.
It's sad that he was in Peter Laviolette's dog house last year (when he probably didn't deserve to be, at least to the extent he was), especially since that ultimately could have cost him his NHL career. I never exactly liked Zherdev, but I do find myself feeling a wee bit sorry for him.