Harsh words from teammates and others about Nik Zherdev in today’s Dispatch. This isn’t the first time he’s been called out publicly, but this may be the most pointed time yet (and keep in mind, the Dispatch owns part of the team, so when they choose to call out a player like this, we can infer that to a degree at least, they’re speaking for those at the top of the organization).
At this point it looks like the Jackets should have traded Zherdev last summer when he was in his contract dispute. Granted, I never like the idea of trading young players, especially those who have shown they have tons of skill, and I probably would have been unhappy at the time had they done so. But after another disappointing season of very uneven effort and public displays of bad attitude, it’s hard to see the Jackets getting a whole heckuva return for Z if they trade him this off-season. And at this point it feels like if he is ever going to get his head straight and start living up to his abilities, it’s not going to happen in Columbus.
I still get the nagging feeling that if he is traded, that’s when he’s suddenly going to turn it around and become a superstar, and the Jackets will look like heels for trading him (shades of Ottawa and Pavol Demitra). But even so, maybe it’s just time to cut the losses and move on without #13.