April 03 2012 11:51AM
Alexander Burmistrov was an interesting selection at eighth overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Having now played 147 NHL games, he remains an interesting selection.
Burmistrov was the fourth forward drafted out of the OHL, behind Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin, and Jeff Skinner, which meant that the then-Atlanta Thrashers were one spot out of the really elite OHL talent that year. Here are all the forwards taken in the first two rounds out of the OHL that year, along with goal and point projections over a hypothetical 82-game OHL season based on their production in 2009-10.
There are lots of interesting picks in that group, but overall it follows the same curve as the rest of the draft: the top talent was available early on, then there was a steep drop to a bunch of guys at around the same level of offensive talent (the exceptions to this are guys who were either a) famous prospects or b) big and gritty – John Mcfarland fitting under the former category and Phil Lane fitting under the second). Burmistrov probably deserves a bit of a bump because he’s a first-year European player in North America, but even so it’s hard to look at his draft-year offense and find a lot of gap between him and guys like Watson, Thomas and Smith-Pelly.
So far, Burmistrov has struggled to provide the offense, despite the Thrashers bizarre decision a year ago to play him in the NHL immediately.
According to hockey-reference.com, 24 players have played 100 games or more by their 20-year old season since the NHL lockout. Here’s the list, ranked by points-per-game:
Burmistrov is second from bottom, ahead of only James Sheppard, a player who is either on the express train to Bustville or has already pulled into the station (Oilers fans will note Magnus Paajarvi’s location on the same list with frustration).
According to behindthenet.ca, Burmistrov is playing against middling opposition and getting lots of time in the offensive zone, and yet he’s marginally more effective offensively (on a relative to icetime basis) than Tanner Glass. The same was true last year – lousy opposition, lots of offensive zone time, 1.27 PTS/60 at even-strength. Given premium minutes, Burmistrov has responded with minimal offense.
I’m not criticizing Burmistrov’s two-way game, which is pretty good for his age. But – even with the caveat that he has lots of time and many of his peers are still playing junior hockey – I do wonder where his ceiling is offensively. I’d suggest it’s not nearly as high as draft position would dictate.