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Red Wings and Blackhawks Pursue Top KHL Scorer

Both teams have made offers to Torpedo Nizny Novgorod forward Damir Zhafyarov

The Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings are chasing down one of the KHL’s top scorers. Both have extended offers to the Kontinental Hockey League’s Damir Zhafyarov, according to reports.

Related: Blackhawks’ New Starter Kevin Lankinen Getting Calder Mentions

Zhafyarov, who was never drafted into the National Hockey League, has 20 goals, 58 points in 54 games this year with the KHL’s Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod who play in the Kharlamov Division. That’s good enough for third overall in the league’s scoring race. The 26-year-old is a 5-foot-9 170-pound right winger.

Offers Made

Nikolai Lemtyugov of the Russian news outlet Sports Express reports that Zhafyroz wants to play in the NHL. “There is information that Zhafyarov is determined to go to North America. He has offers from Chicago and Detroit,” Lemtyugov said during a broadcast on the Sports Express Youtube channel.

Zhafyarov’s contract expires at the end of the current season. His team, Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod are sixth in the KHL’s Eastern Conference. The regular season concludes Feb. 27. The top eight teams in each division qualify for the playoffs.

Zhafyarov competed in the 2013-14 World Junior Hockey Championships for Team Russia, where he put up 3 goals, six points in seven games and captured a bronze medal. He also played with the Russian Selects team in the 2012-13 Junior Super Series.

Damir Zhafyarov

Zhafyarov is a veteran of the top Russian league, making his KHL debut with the now defunct Metallurg Novokuznetsk in 2012. He then played two seasons with Admiral Vladivostik before leaving the team as a free agent and signing with Torpedo in 2018.

Last season with Torpedo, Zhafyarov potted 17 goals, 37 points good for 33rd in the league’s scoring race. 

He’s still young with many playing years ahead of him and could make for a low risk/high reward signing. KHL players however, tend to have some growing pains when adapting to the NHL (see the Toronto Maple Leafs Alex Barabanov). We’ll have to wait and see if the Red Wings and Blackhawks are willing to bet on Zhafyarov when his contract expires at the end of the year.

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