Alexander Burmistrov’s Offensive Ceiling

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.

Player Drafted GP G A PTS PTS/82 G/82
Taylor Hall 1 57 40 66 106 152 58
Tyler Seguin 2 63 48 58 106 138 62
Jeff Skinner 7 64 50 40 90 115 64
Alex Burmistrov 8 62 22 43 65 86 29
Joey Hishon 17 36 16 24 40 91 36
Austin Watson 18 52 20 34 54 85 32
Jared Knight 32 63 36 21 57 74 47
John Mcfarland 33 64 20 30 50 64 26
Dalton Smith 34 62 21 23 44 58 28
Christian Thomas 40 64 41 25 66 85 53
Devante Smith-Pelly 42 60 29 33 62 85 40
Ryan Spooner 45 47 19 35 54 94 33
Tyler Toffoli 47 65 37 42 79 100 47
Phil Lane 52 64 18 14 32 41 23

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, 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:

Player GP G A PTS GC +/- S S% PTS /GM
Sidney Crosby 213 99 195 294 104 27 701 14.1 1.38
Steven Stamkos 243 119 113 232 94 -12 750 15.9 0.95
Anze Kopitar 154 52 86 138 51 -27 394 13.2 0.9
Patrick Kane 162 46 96 142 50 -7 445 10.3 0.88
Jonathan Toews 146 58 65 123 48 23 339 17.1 0.84
Matt Duchene 161 51 71 122 46 -7 382 13.4 0.76
Taylor Hall 126 49 46 95 38 -12 393 12.5 0.75
Jeff Skinner 143 51 56 107 43 -3 416 12.3 0.75
John Tavares 161 53 68 121 47 -31 429 12.4 0.75
Sam Gagner 223 44 87 131 47 -30 461 9.5 0.59
Evander Kane 210 62 62 124 50 1 640 9.7 0.59
Peter Mueller 153 35 55 90 34 -20 339 10.3 0.59
Tyler Seguin 152 38 49 87 34 28 362 10.5 0.57
Jakub Voracek 161 25 63 88 30 4 255 9.8 0.55
David Perron 143 28 49 77 28 29 229 12.2 0.54
Jordan Staal 245 63 56 119 49 16 480 13.1 0.49
Milan Lucic 149 25 44 69 25 15 185 13.5 0.46
Ryan O’Reilly 234 39 68 107 39 0 437 8.9 0.46
Josh Bailey 141 23 37 60 22 -9 186 12.4 0.43
Phil Kessel 152 30 36 66 26 -18 383 7.8 0.43
Guillaume Latendresse 153 32 24 56 24 -22 237 13.5 0.37
Magnus Paajarvi 121 17 25 42 16 -20 259 6.6 0.35
Alexander Burmistrov 147 19 29 48 18 -8 208 9.1 0.33
James Sheppard 160 9 34 43 14 -14 145 6.2 0.27

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, 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.

  • BaconWrapped

    Early in the season I recognized very good passing. If he is good defensively I can only see his passing improving. His shooting avg isn’t bad. Shot total is. At 11% and more shots, he’d be an all-star. IDK if that means the medicine ball or a summer net to practise. One spot out of really elite OHL talent doesn’t mean anything (yes, nice to have Skinner knowing his NHL goal totals), OHLer are 1/5 that round. You guys could maybe try to correct stats by giving QMJHL a goal penalty and SP reward, and I assume vice-versa for WHL.
    I’d say is as good offensive upside as TB and Cmb selections. Knowing he stayed healthy his NHL years are good but it isn’t like he learned anything offensively in Atl last year. Burmistrov looks way better than 3 players after him.
    After him, Fowler at 12th, J.Schwartz 14th, Tarasenko 16th, Kuznetsov 26th all look equivalent…offensively. Etem ton of jr pts and Howden seems like a good two way player too. If he is stuck at 9% shooting avg and doesn’t shoot more…Backstrom and Datsyuk didn’t have good goal totals at first. I’d take Kuznetsov and Fowler ahead of him but is better than 4-6 picks.
    Maybe the rule of thumb should be if offense is desired to develop, put him on what team is most gifted where he gets PP time? Not Atl last year. Maybe on the farm and trade for some AHL Krog-like ringers to complement him?
    What is Burmistrov’s shooting yr round training schedule vs Kane?

    Crosby, Gretz, Tiger Woods, all got as good as they did by constant conditioning. Good role models. I’m more into hockey now because I don’t have any respect for our federal government’s AGW platform. I will want to be a spongey goalie in my 50’s and my city selection will be more limited if no career.

  • BaconWrapped

    If you look back as far as 1990 and limit the search to players in their first two seasons, Burmi still ranks pretty low, but he is in the same ball park as Manny Malhotra, Shane Doan, Rob Niedermayer, Ryan O’Reilly, Joe Thornton, Petr Nedved and Scott Hartnell. They aren’t all bad company.

    He shows clear potential and to me the errors seem mental rather than physical. Hopefully he puts it all together.

  • Alex Hemsky

    The problem here is that we don’t have a lot of good data to look at. We’ve only got 1 year of junior – his first in a new league in a new country. We’ve also got a list of young players most of which had no business being in the NHL. There’s not a lot to compare to at the bottom of that list because most of similar talent were playing in lesser leagues at the time. What kind of numbers would they have put up in the NHL?

    Here are some of Burmi’s draft comparables.
    Name PPG P/60 5v5
    Johansen .31 1.4
    Niederreiter .02 nil
    Connolly .22 1.0
    Skinner .7 2.1
    Burmistrov .37 1.3
    Granlund .52 (Finnish equiv.)
    Tarasenko .5 (Rus equiv.)

    I think there’s plenty of reason to believe we’ll get good value out of that pick.

  • To be sure, Burmistrov still has potential ahead of him. I just don’t think he’ll develop into an elite scorer, based on what he’s done so far. I have similar thoughts about Magnus Paajarvi, though the latter’s shot totals leave me a little more optimistic.

  • I like shots. Not always. J.Blake in T.O., his first year back after therapy, and Kessel’s first T.O. year; they shot when no teammates in rebound position.

    Watching the Phx-Blues game now. St Louis got a 3 on 1. They shot. Hottest goalie in league made save. Shot on rebound. 2nd rebound came out and hopped over a D’s stick and third shot went in. A lot of teams would either not have a D pinching (was almost a 4 on 2), or would try a fancy passing play.
    I’ve only seen two goalies where shooting doesn’t work. Gigiere and his long pads during 2003 Cup run. And lots of Hasek. The only time it doesn’t seem to work is if the refs let D maul any FWs going for a rebound. And the refs can look at interference during intermissions to adjust, maybe even a makeup call. Careful though. I watched best Oilers games ever box set and the Marchant game winner followed a game of nothing but telegraphed back and forth PPs. The long playoff game where Primeau tackled Jagr without penalty was a joke.

    Ouch. Did LA Kings just get eliminated on that bench interference? What is this, a Cardinal’s opening day game? Soccer? I was about to comment Scheifele didn’t get a good 1st period shot on prime opportunity but just missed his goal…Scouting Ceci.

  • …the Barrie Neiburger goalie just got scored on without moving. What Kipper did during the Flames cup run, was he stretched out his blocker and glove to the top corners, and each pad to the bottom corners. With good shot blocking this was very effective way to deal with screen.
    A roller hockey game in shoes, I was completely screened and the shooter waited for that to uncork a hard snap shot. I heard the shot. I could tell by the screen it was coming near glove side. I could also tell by the sound it wasn’t top corner. I blindly stuck out my baseball glove and left pad and the ball went right in my glove. I didn’t even feel it. Thought a goal until I saw everyone’s reaction.

  • Be nice to see Burmistrov play for Russia. They will certainly be ramping up the intensity the next two yrs.
    After the lockout I figured Havlat and Gaborik were the best players if they could stay healthy. Gaborik has shifty moves and hard shots. Havlat had a nice AllStar game goal years ago where he seemed to pick up the puck with his blade and throw it ubove a down goalie very slowly, like a slo-mo wrist shot. That was hands. It would be nice to have a player with a skill like that on this team; is such a physical team, that player would have protection. Yzerman got killer one timers after composite sticks and reinvented as a checker. Adaptable players like that are good no matter what CBA. He tried to lose weight to get more speed in late 1980s. Made him injury prone and reversed. That is a certain sort of intelligence a paid scout might be able to pick out; different from leadership or best-on-Earth injury resilience. I think Burmistrov has some leadership, the physical game doesn’t faze him. Too bad no Havlat hands or HOF career possible.

  • Has any other pro athlete returned from an osteotomy? In might be a predictor of other traits. After the first five rounds, give the remainder of the draft class osteotomies. If anyone recovers I bet they make the NHL.
    Sorry, the crappy goalie ruined my scouting. I’m gonna go thaw out some groundbeef.

  • It’s okay. There are lots of different careers; a person can wind up having hundreds of employers. Imagine the restaurant naming opportunities. Ceci gave it away on PP. Recovered it with stickwork and size. Might be harder to do that at NHL but good positioning so maybe same effect with a shot-block. Didn’t dump it in too hard. Medium dump in work on crappy ice. Better passing of the boards would improve hockey. I wonder if boards should be tested or different boards materials tested in the NHL’s R+D summer thingy?