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Former 4th overall pick forced to take deal in Italy to keep hockey career alive


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Josh
August 30, 2023  (10:48 PM)
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When the Columbus Blue Jackets selected Nikolai Zherdev 4th overall they thought they'd drafted a future superstar. Zherdev possessed blazing speed and tremendous hands. It seemed like he had all the tools to make it at the next level.

Zherdev made his debut during the 2003-2004 season. He scored 13 goals and 34 points in 57 games. After the 2004 lockout, Zherdev returned to Columbus and had another strong season scoring 27 goals and 54 points in 73 games.
The Ukraine born winger would go on to play another two seasons in Columbus before getting traded to the New York Rangers. Zherdev led the Rangers in scoring in his only season in New York.
However, the Rangers and Zherdev were unable to agree on a contract which ultimately caused the winger to leave and return to the KHL for the 2009-2010 season. Zherdev would then return to the NHL for the 2010-2011 season, signing a deal with the Philadelphia Flyers. In 56 games he scored 16 goals and 22 points.
This turned out to be his final season in the NHL for Zherdev. At the end of the 2010-2011 season Zherdev returned again to the KHL where he remained until the 2017-2018 season.
After a two year break from playing professionally Zherdev made a comeback during the 2021-2022 while playing in Austria as well as the AlpsHL.
Zherdev is on the move once again, signing a contract with lleghe of the Italian Hockey League. (2nd division)
Zherdev, 38, will go down as an extremely talented enigma to the hockey world. He had all the tools to be an elite player in the league but ego, work ethic and failure to comply with authority got in the way.
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Former 4th overall pick forced to take deal in Italy to keep hockey career alive

Who is the biggest draft bust for the Columbus Blue Jackets?

Nikolai Zherdev (4th 2003)3525.2 %
Nikita Filatov (6th 2008)3525.2 %
Gilbert Brule (6th 2005)5237.4 %
Pascal Leclaire (8th 2001)1712.2 %
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