Last week, we wrote about how Dallas Stars fans must prepare for the most likely departure of long-time defenseman Sergei Zubov. While the chances were he was on his way out, there was still hope that he would take a hometown discount and finish his career with the Stars. In an ESPN article by Scott Burnside, Zubov's agent Jay Grossman makes it sound as though Zubov most likely will not be returning to the team he has spent the past 13 years with.
"Sergei wants to be in a winning environment no matter where that might be," Grossman said.
"He's had a great run there," Grossman said.
"There's nothing negative there," Grossman said. "He'd just like to take a look at something else."
[UPDATE by Brandon Worley, 07/14/09 5:11 PM EDT ] Mike Heika talked to Joe Nieuwendyk this afternoon to get his take on these statements by Zubov's agent, who reiterated what the team's stance has been all summer long:
"There's a health issue there that we would like to know more about, and I think only time can help decide that," Nieuwendyk said of Zubov's hip surgery.
"I think it's always difficulty when a player of his stature leaves an organization he's been with for a long time," Nieuwendyk said. "But it happens in professional sports, and you have to adjust."
Here is my take on what is happening right now with Sergei Zubov: he's turned over everything to his agent who has entered into protective/posturing mode in an attempt to get as big a contract he can for his client. There's been speculation that the Rangers, Blue Jackets and "nine teams in total" are interested in Zubov, but so far we haven't heard a thing about contract offers, physicals, work outs or anything that would be the first steps in the him signing anywhere outside of Dallas.
The last reports we heard on Zubov's health was that he was still limping fairly badly a few months ago at the team's facilities and that he wouldn't be ready until late summer at the earliest. It seems like Grossman's agent is trying to blow some smoke about these team's that are interested and how other teams are interested, trying to get the Stars to act before they really want to. But of all the teams in the NHL, none no more about Zubov's injury situation than Dallas does and they're not taking the bait. They're sticking to their guns, saying they aren't interested in talking until they're absolutely certain he's healthy. If he signs somewhere else between now and then, well the team is prepared for that.
Basically, the Stars wouldn't mind signing Zubov but won't do it unless he's 100% healthy. Zubov's agent is trying to get the word out that he's good to go, trying to stir up interest, knowing that the longer he goes without a contract the lower the final number is going to be.
While this is something we've been preparing for, it's still going to be tough to see Zubov playing for another team. You can read my thoughts on his possible departure here: