Welcome back! To me. I've been very busy, with work, and with moving, and hell, nothing terribly interesting has happened anyway. Here's all the "news" about which I have chosen not to inform you:
--Derek Morris signed with the Bruins. Well, there goes the best of our "shitty" teir of defensemen. Morris was never bad, just never great. One in a long line of failed quarterbacks. And...we knew he wasn't coming back, the end. I read an article that said he might get to play opposite Chara. Okay.
--We signed some other depth D-man named Sam Klassen. He's 6'0", 196 lbs, 20 years old, born on New Year's Day. Expect him to compete against our other defensemen at training camp, and expect him to not make the squad. But remember the name in case it comes up in a few years.
--We have learned that Enver Lisin's 1-year deal was for $850,000. So, I'm cool with that.
--Uh...I dunno...Christopher Higgins performed in some comedy show or something?
Okay, here's why I actually decided to post something today, though. No, it's not actually news. Today is a date we totally forgot about on account of we don't care: Nikolai Zherdev's arbitration hearing! That means in the next 48 hours (or 48 hours from noon, or whatever?), the NHL's (or NHLPA's? I'm unclear) third-party neutral arbitrator will pick a number out of a hat, somewhere between whatever offers the Rangers and Zherdev threw out, to accurately represent Nikolai Zherdev's hockey skills.
Are you as excited as I am?
Remember that the Rangers originally offered $3.25 million. Zherdev then filed for arbitration to the tune of $4.5 million. The Rangers had the opportunity to give the arbitrator another counter-offer (which could have been lower or higher than the $3.25 million), and it is that new figure along with the 4.5 figure that the arbitrator will use as his or her high and low bounds. It is not known what figure the Rangers used. The Rangers are in no way obligated to sign Zherdev to whatever number the arbitrator chooses, even if it's beneath the original $3.25 million they offered.
So, what's gonna happen? The arbitrator is likely gonna choose a number somewhere in the high $3ms to low $4ms. I believe the Rangers have no interest in keeping him on the squad at that price. As Larry Brooks points out, we still haven't signed Dubinsky. I imagine that we will either reject the arbitrator's offer outright, leaving Z on his own in the world, or accept it in the hopes of trading him for someone we actually need. If we're still looking to make some kind of substantive move, Zherdev acts as much better trade bait than anyone else we're looking to part with. That's the only reason I can think of that we'd accept such an offer.
If the arbitrator turns around and says Z is worth $3 million a year, on the other hand, then we might have to consider it. But frankly, I'd rather take my chances with Kotalik. Anyway, sit tight: once the Zherdev thing is settled, one way or another (more likely another), I imagine Dubinsky's contract is not far behind.