UPDATE 2:53 PM ET: I just spoke with Zherdev's agent, who confirmed that the Flyers are in talks with the Russian forward. Nothing is done just yet, according to him, but he said things are "close" and that "due to the time difference, we might have something done tomorrow." They've talked with four or five other teams.
UPDATE, 2:31 PM ET: Frank Seravalli of the Daily News just passed on the following news. "One league source says the Flyers and Zherdev have talked and an offer is pending. Bruins and Sabres are also interested."
ORIGINAL POST, 1:36 PM ET: According to the ever-reliable Dimitri Chesnokov over at Puck Daddy, a Russian outlet is reporting that free agent winger Nikolai Zherdev has signed with the Philadelphia Flyers. At this point, we don't know the financial terms or any details of the contract. Philadelphia media, including CSN Philly and the Daily News, have been unable to confirm the news as of now
Zherdev played in the KHL back in Mother Russia a year ago after the Rangers let him walk following arbitration. The arbitrator settled at just under $4 million last offseason, but after a year overseas, that shouldn't necessarily be an indication of what the Flyers could be paying him here.
So what are we getting if these reports are true? Zherdev is a gifted offensive talent and would immediately be the top ranked right wing on the Flyers depth chart. It makes a trade of Simon Gagne make a bit more sense, and it also makes the chances of Dan Carcillo walking after his own arbitration hearing more and more likely, should the arbitrator rule in his favor and give him a high price tag that the Flyers are able to back away from.
The Flyers would have six wingers under contract after Zherdev, excluding Riley Cote and including Darroll Powe, who didn't file for arbitration but has yet to sign a new deal as a RFA. With the overload at center, the Flyers would be set at the forward positions even after a possible trade of Gagne.
Zherdev is a hot-and-cold player, though. He seemingly gives up a lot of the time on the ice, he's unreliable defensively and he's very inconsistent. He can put points on the board though, and all it would take is a little chemistry and a little hard work from him in Philadelphia to fulfill his potential as a very gifted offensive star.
More on this as info come in.