Similar to what was expected, Nik Zherdev was awarded $3.9 million in arbitration this weekend and the Rangers now have until tomorrow to make a decision.
Of course, this is not cut and dry. The Rangers have options that include signing him, sign-and-trade, let him go, or perhaps let him become a UFA and then sign him to another contract.
Not 100% sure on the last part, but I don't see why they couldn't.
However, it appears that the Rangers have stood firm on their offer of $3.25 million and they are more likely not to have Zherdev return for the upcoming season.
The enigmatic winger exhibited his gifted offensive talents throughout much of last season, but the coaching change really hampered him and he became nothing more than another body occasionally on the ice.
While his salary is cheaper than Nik Antropov received in Atlanta, it is still much higher than a Ryan Callahan, whose work ethic far exceeds Zherdev's.
What may serve the Rangers best is to thoroughly explore the sign-and-trade option.
Unless the Rangers were looking to sign Alex Tanguay with the money they'd save on Zherdev, it would be wise to revisit the Dany Heatley scenario.
We have speculated this for quite some time as a potential possibility and while it may be a stretch, it does seem plausible.
By the way of salary, the Rangers could package Zherdev with a player like Michal Rozsival and prospects and end up with more cap space than they started with.
Take that money and sign a player like Marc-Andre Bergeron and that would be a much quicker roster than last season.
So now we wait and continue to speculate until the decision comes down in less than 24 hours.
Let's debate: should the Rangers sign Zherdev, sign-and-trade, or let him walk?
For my money, I'd take a 50-goal scorer with attitude over a 30-goal one...