NHL Rumors and Notes for July 7th

1. Nikolai Zherdev one and done with the Rangers

2. Leafs want Swedish teammates

3. Canucks resign O’Brian and Pick up Goalie Raycroft

4. List of 20 players that have elected to take their teams to Salary arbitration.1. Nikolai Zherdev one and done with the Rangers

The NY Post is reporting that the Rangers Nikolai Zherdev’s decision to file for salary arbitration probably means that it will be one-and-done on Broadway for the underachieving winger. As it was, there was debate within the organization whether to qualify Zherdev at the required $3.25 million price tag after his uneven season that frustrated both Tom Renney and John Tortorella.

Now, with Zherdev seeking a contract believed in the neighborhood of $4.5M, there’s little doubt the Blueshirts would walk away from an arbitration award that’s even a nickel more than $3.25M, and thus make the 24-year-old winger an unrestricted free agent.

Maybe that’s the end game envisioned by Zherdev’s agent, Roland Hedges, who has not responded to a series of voice mail and e-mail messages left by The Post over the last three months.

Maybe Hedges believes Zherdev, who was even less effective for Tortorella than he was for Renney and who failed to register a point in the Blueshirts’ seven-game first-round defeat to the Capitals, will hit a home run on the free agent market, though $3.25M for a 23-goal scorer whose work ethic comes and goes without notice would seem to clear the fence.

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2. Leafs want Swedish teammates

The Toronto Sun is reporting that Leafs GM Brian Burke is interested in picking up Swedish goaltender Jonas Gustavsson. “We’ve talked to him and expressed some interest but there’s nothing to report,” Dave Nonis, Leafs senior vice-president of hockey operations, said yesterday. “It’s a little early.”

Sources in Sweden say talks have progressed further though, as Wallin could be the latest player stripped from the Farjestad roster. Last year, the big recruit was forward Fabian Brunnstrom, who settled on the Dallas Stars after being wooed by the Leafs.

Toronto was able to procure defenceman Jonas Frogren from the Swedish club and is pulling out all the stops to snag Gustavsson. Burke has just returned from Sweden where he was to meet with Gustavsson face-to-face earlier this week.

And now there is Wallin, who scored 18 goals and added 27 assists in 55 games this past season, the second consecutive campaign that he led his club in scoring.

The 29-year-old, who had a brief stint in the NHL earlier this decade, might be added incentive for Gustavsson to pick the Leafs over the other three teams actively recruiting him.

“He’s a good two-way player who has played over here before,” Nonis said of the 6-foot-3, 195-pounder who was a sixth-round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes in 1998. “We’ve got a lot of things on our plate right now and he’s a little way down.”

Like the other NHL teams after Gustavsson, the Leafs had hoped he would have made his decision prior to the July 1 start of free agency.

Gustavsson told Sun Media’s Steve Buffery on Saturday that he plans to make his decision early this week and that Toronto is in the mix.

Meanwhile, there will be some on-ice action for several potential new Leafs this week at the team’s summer prospects camp. A group of two goaltenders, nine defenceman and 14 forwards — including recent No. 1 draft pick Nazem Kadri — will participate in on and off-ice workouts beginning today at Lakeshore Lions Arena.

Also in action will be Christian Hanson and Tyler Bozak, the pair of U.S. college free agents that Burke signed toward the end of this past season.

“It gives us a chance to see their practice habits, their work habits and conditioning,” Nonis said. “It’s a pretty important week for the players.

“By the end of it, they should understand what we expect of them in terms of nutrition and conditioning to prepare for training camp.”

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3. Canucks resign O’Brian and Pick up Goalie Raycroft

TSN is reporting that the Canucks resign Shane O’Brian to a a one-year, $1.6 million contract. The 25-year old defenceman recored 10 assists in 77 games last season. He also tallied 196 penalty minutes, which was second in the NHL only to forward Daniel Carcillo.

TSN is also reporting that the Canucks have picked up former Av’s goalie Andrew Raycroft to a one-year, $500,000 contract. Raycroft, 29, spent the 2008-09 season as a member of the Colorado Avalanche where he posted a record of 12-16-0 with a 3.14 Goals-Against-Average and a .892 Save-Percentage.

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4. List of 20 players that have elected to take their teams to Salary arbitration.

Tsn is reporting the list of the 20 players that are taking their teams to Salary arbitration. The list includes Nikolai Zherdev, Ryan Callahan, Jiri Hudler, Colby Armstrong, Kyle Wellwood and more. Wingers Nikolai Zherdev and Ryan Callahan of the New York Rangers were among 20 players who elected to take their teams to salary arbitration, the NHL Players’ Association said Sunday.

The only other club to have two players go that route were the Phoenix Coyotes, who are set to have hearings with forwards Nigel Dawes and Daniel Winnik.

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