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января 2004 года.
Interest in Zhamnov is growing - Chicago Tribune
Without extension, trade is possible
By Bob Foltman
DETROIT -- Teams around the NHL are calling to inquire about center Alex Zhamnov, Blackhawks general manager Bob Pulford said.
Pulford said teams aren't offering specific trade proposals but want to get a sense of what the Hawks plan on doing with their captain, who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
"We like Alex, we think he has been a good player for us," Pulford said.
Zhamnov, 33, is making $4.5 million this season. For him to give up his unrestricted free agency this summer, it is likely to take at least $5 million a season from the Hawks.
But money may not be the biggest factor. One person who has spoken to Zhamnov said he is very "frustrated" playing for coach Brian Sutter and he's not sure the Hawks will win with Sutter staying as coach.
Hawks President Bill Wirtz—who is believed to think very highly of Zhamnov—said last season Sutter would coach the Hawks as long as Wirtz owned the team.
Despite that pledge, Sutter is in the final three months of his contract with no talk of an extension as doubt spreads about whether he'll return.
Sutter is in his third year coaching the Hawks. He previously coached Calgary for three seasons, Boston for three and St. Louis for four.
Pulford said he expected something to happen regarding Zhamnov before the March trade deadline but he didn't want to set any arbitrary deadlines. He and Zhamnov's agent, Jay Grossman, have had conversations but have not exchanged specific contract proposals.
It's believed that unless the Wirtz family personally intervenes, the Hawks won't risk losing Zhamnov over the summer for nothing and will trade him sometime in the next month.
One NHL scout said Zhamnov would be very attractive for playoff-bound teams. The Detroit Red Wings—the Hawks' opponent Wednesday night—and the New Jersey Devils lead the list of rumored suitors for Zhamnov. It's believed the Hawks would want an NHL-caliber player in return.
Pulford said it was understandable Zhamnov would want to play on a contending team at this stage of his career but he didn't think Zhamnov was hoping for a trade.
With a potential lockout looming, conventional wisdom is out the door as far as trading for unrestricted free agents. Teams that think they are a player away from a deep playoff run aren't concerned about the roughly $2 million left on Zhamnov's contract or the possibility they will be unable to sign him over the summer.
"I don't think money is an issue with a player of his caliber," Pulford said.
Since returning from back surgery on New Year's Eve, Zhamnov has three goals and three assists in seven games. His back doesn't seem to be an issue, although one Western Conference GM said it would raise question marks.
The rumors and uncertainty may be starting to wear on Zhamnov. Without prompting Monday night, he talked about his situation after the 7-4 loss in St. Louis.
"I have a lot of things in my head right now, to be honest," he said.
"I just want to go on the ice and play hard and help this team. It's not
easy but that's the business and I understand it."