Could the Chicago Blackhawks be going to the European talent market yet again? That’s the news out of the KHL today. According to a report from Sport-Express in Russia, the Blackhawks, as well as the Detroit Red Wings, have put in offers to KHL star Damir Zhafyarov.
NOTE: Obviously, there are always going to be limitations on reports from other countries, but Sports-Express has proven credible in the past (they had Panarin-to-the-Blackhawks back in 2015) and Google Translate has gotten better. Just taking note of the limitations.
In a livestream on Sport-Express’ page, insider and former KHLer Nikolai Lemtyugov reported on the offers and interest from the NHL on Zhafyarov: “There is information that Zhafyarov is determined to go to North America. He has offers from Chicago and Detroit.”
Here’s the livestream, if you speak Russian:
Playing with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod this season, the 26-year-old winger has 20 goals and 58 points in 54 KHL games. In nine seasons playing in the KHL, Zhafyarov has skated in 424 games with 196 points. He also has 13 points in 35 KHL postseason games and was part of the Russian World Junior Championship squad that won the Bronze Medal in 2014.
Look at him do his thing:
Damir Zhafyarov can do whatever he wants. pic.twitter.com/g6z29NjOgT
— KHL (@khl_eng) October 13, 2020
Blackhawks president of hockey operations and general manager Stan Bowman loves to find European prospects/projects to shape into NHL talent.
Over the past few seasons, the Blackhawks have landed players like Artemi Panarin, Erik Gustafsson, Michal Kempný, Dominik Kubalík, Jan Rutta, Pius Suter, and Dominik Kahun. The highlight of the group being Panarin, obviously, but players like Rutta and Kempný have gone on to play roles on Stanley Cup winning teams, while Suter and Kubalík have become more than serviceable players for Chicago over the past season-plus.
With this sweet assist Damir Zhafyarov completed 4-point night and extended point streak to 10 games! pic.twitter.com/N3kW07lNBj
— KHL (@khl_eng) December 6, 2020
Zhafyarov is an undersized winger for NHL standards at 5’9″ and 175 pounds. His skill set has transitioned from a checking role early on in his career to more of a scoring and playmaking threat in the past three seasons with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod. His contract with the club ends on April 30.
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