In 2008-09 with the Rangers, Zherdev notched 58 points (23 goals, 35 assists) while appearing in all 82 regular-season games. In four seasons with the Blue Jackets, who drafted him fourth overall in the 2003 entry draft, he recorded 76 goals and 105 assists in 283 games.
While Zherdev is a terrific one-on-one player and dangerous scoring threat, critics have questioned his work ethic, consistency and focus.
In Columbus, where he squabbled with club officials over his contract in 2006, he at times fell out of favor with management and teammates. The Blue Jackets ended up trading him to the Rangers in July 2008.
"First of all, I don't pay much attention to the people who write about me about bad things or good things," Zherdev said. "Sometimes the media has different opinions about different players. Right now, my goal is to come to Philadelphia and prepare for the long hockey season. I'd like to play hockey right now."
The enigmatic winger also reportedly received interest from the Bruins, Devils, Islanders and Sabres.
His signing, which put the Flyers about $1.4 million over the $59.4 million salary cap, could mean the end of Simon Gagne's 10-year career with the club.
While his forte is his play around the opposing net, Zherdev said he has worked at improving his defensive abilities.
"I've changed my style and tried to play more in the defensive zone," he said. "I think right now I'm a two-way player. More important, I probably bring skills, speed, and hockey sense."
With Atlant, Zherdev played in 52 games and totaled 39 points (13 goals, 26 assists).
Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien at 610-313-8019 or firstname.lastname@example.org.