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Report: Blackhawks offer contract to Russian winger Damir Zhafyarov

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The Blackhawks are one of two teams to have reportedly made offers to the Russian winger.

Kontinental Hockey League: Spartak Moscow vs Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod Photo by Stanislav Krasilnikov\TASS via Getty Images

The Blackhawks have reportedly made an offer to right wing Damir Zhafyarov, who plays for the KHL’s Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod. The Red Wings have also reportedly extended an offer.

From Sport-Express writer Nikolai Lemtyugov: “There is information that Zhafyarov is determined to go to North America. He has offers from Chicago and Detroit.”

Zhafyarov, who turns 27 in March, is one of the KHL’s most dynamic players this season. He’s third in the league with 58 points (20 G, 38 A) in 54 KHL games despite being on the smaller side at 5-foot-9, 175 pounds. He has 198 points in 426 career KHL games. According to Lemtyugov’s article, Zhafyarov’s contract with Torpedo expires on April 30, which is the end of the 2020-21 season, meaning Zhafyarov would be eligible to come to the NHL next season.

Zhafyarov was also recently named captain of the Russian national team for the Euro Hockey Tour and earned heaps of praise from teammate Chris Wideman — a former NHLer — as reported by hockey journalist Gillian Kemmerer below:

The Blackhawks have had a lot of success with their European acquisitions. Dominik Kubalik, Pius Suter, and Kevin Lankinen are impressing with the current Blackhawks team and they’ve found gems in players like Artemi Panarin, Michal Kempny, Erik Gustafsson, and Dominik Kahun.

Here are a few highlights from Zhafyarov’s time in Russia. Up first is this beauty of a one-handed goal scored with a defender hanging all over him:

And here’s a goal Zhafyarov scored by literally skating circles around his opponents:

[UPDATE] In this joint article from Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers of The Athletic, they cite a source who indicated that the Blackhawks have not offered Zhafyarov a contract, contrary to that report above. The source also indicated that “multiple teams” have expressed interest but the Blackhawks are not specifically identified as one of them.