Zherdev Back; Flyers Trade Rumors

Nik Zherdev cleared waivers with no takers and then had a meeting with coach Peter Laviolette and GM Paul Holmgren. It seems as thought the meeting was productive because the enigmatic winger had a great practice afterward. He appears to have had an epiphany about his effort and gotten a clearer sense of what the Flyers want from him. Looks like he’ll be staying on the roster and will try to work himself back into the lineup. If Zherdev has indeed been awakened, then great – it will be good for the Flyers to have him for the stretch run and playoffs and they could use his goals. It also would mean that they won’t look to trade for a scoring winger as some had speculated they would.

However, as Monday’s trade deadline approaches, the Flyers should look for a veteran defenseman as insurance against injuries. With seventh defenseman Oskars Bartulis out for virtually the rest of the season and the Phantoms’ Matt Walker out with a knee injury, the Flyers would have to rely on inexperienced Erik Gustafsson or questionable Danny Syvret for injury replacements. Gustafsson has been recalled and it looks as though Chris Pronger’s hand injury may be worse than originally thought. If that’s the case, the need for a defenseman becomes even greater. The Flyers had talked with Colorado about Adam Foote, but that looks like a no-go now since he is apparently unwilling to waive his no-trade clause. The Flyers should keep looking, since going for a deep playoff run with no reliable seventh defenseman is asking for trouble. They could end up playing five if an injury occurs and we all remember how well that worked last spring.

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