Blue Jackets Re-Sign RW Nikolai Zherdev To Three-Year Contract
Club's top pick in 2003 Entry Draft tallied 27-27-54 in 73 games in his second NHL season in 2005-06
"Nikolai is a supremely talented player with the ability to bring fans out of their seats every time he steps on the ice," said MacLean. "I think this agreement shows the commitment the Blue Jackets have to him and also the commitment he has to our organization and fans. We think this season is going to be our best yet and Nikolai will be a big part of any success we have moving forward."
Zherdev, 21, has tallied 40 goals and 48 assists for 88 points with 104 penalty minutes in 130 career NHL games with the Blue Jackets. In 2005-06, he notched 27-27-54 and 50 penalty minutes in 73 games. He led the club in shots on goal (194), ranked second in goals and points (tied) and was third in assists, power play goals (10) and multi-point games (14). In addition, he collected 18-19-37 in his last 39 outings, including 12-8-20 in his last 22 appearances.
"I am very happy to remain a Blue Jacket and want to thank the organization for their commitment and support," said Zherdev. "I am excited about our team and look forward to joining my teammates in Columbus as soon as possible."
Zherdev was the club's first pick, fourth overall, at the 2003 Entry Draft. He made his Blue Jackets debut in December 2003 and went on to record 13-21-34 and 54 penalty minutes in 57 games as a rookie in 2003-04. He ranked among rookie leaders in assists (5th), points (6th-tied), power play goals (6th-tied, 5), shots (6th-tied, 137) and goals (9th-tied) and was selected to play in the NHL YoungStars Game during All-Star Weekend.
A native of Kiev, Ukraine, Zherdev has represented Russia in several international tournaments, including a pair of World Junior Championships. In 2003, he helped Russia capture the gold medal at the tournament held in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 2003, he was a member of Russia's silver medal-winning squad.