I would say that all the stuff about him going back to Russia and contract problems are blown way out of portion. At the time of his last contract Doug MacLean had issues with him and really giving him lowball offers. I'm almost positive his agent told him to play in Russia. People just assume that because he's Russian he was asking for a ton of money, and that's not the truth. I mean he signed for 2.5, I think was asking for 3-4 million. I see him asking for 5-6 million for his next contract.
Maclean sold the people in Columbus and the Media that Russian's have attitudes and are problems. Look at them talk about any of their other Russian prospects. Zherdev is extremely shy and not confident about his english and people in Columbus takes it the wrong way.
Also, just to add in his slump season two years ago he was going through some family problems back home. The Blue Jackets or the Dispatch never disclosed exactly what the issues were, but I think that had a major effect on his play. Then he was made an escape-goat for almost every loss by Maclean.
a part of this deal that's a bit under the radar is the fact that Fritsche in particular was dealt; he's an Ohio native and i thought to be part of their future construct.. guess he got on Hitchdick's bad side?