Recent reports state that Burmistrov is eyeing an NHL return
after he fulfills the 2nd year of his KHL contract set to play out
this coming season.
This should be good news for Jets fans, as Burmistrov is a
former first round pick (albeit from the Atlanta years) and he has potential to
help the team next season. The bad news is that Burmistrov is not necessarily
high on returning to the Jets.
THE INTERVIEW TELLS US….
“He’s being kind of diplomatic there, but the vibe I caught
from that exchange when I read it in the original Russian was that he’s not too
hot on the idea of coming back to Winnipeg, and he might want to try his luck
Malamud also reported that Burmistrov, after translation,
stated that he is willing to go to any club that’s willing to let him play.
Burmistrov seems to want to get a chance to have a scoring role in the NHL,
instead of being utilized as a defensive specialist for the remainder of his
Burmistrov still thinks he can become a top-six forward in
the NHL, and he doesn’t seem to think the Jets will give him that opportunity.
It’s a fair assessment for a player who is disgruntled with the organization,
and considering Little, Scheifele, and Perreault have the centre position
locked up, it’s likely Burmistrov won’t be a fit with the Jets.
MAKE THE BEST OF A BAD SITUATION
The Jets will have a final say considering they still own
Burmistrov’s rights, and that means they won’t lose him for nothing if he
returns to the NHL. It’s actually a really good thing because Burmistrov won’t
become an Alexander Radulov, where the NHL team gets nothing for the player.
Burmistrov will need to sign a new deal and commit to
playing for the Jets before being dealt. I’m sure Cheveldayoff is aware of
Burmistrov’s issues, but he may be able to convince the young Russian to stay
with the club given the fact that new coach Paul Maurice may give him
opportunities that Claude Noel didn’t.
If Burmistrov is dead set on moving on from the Jets, then
Cheveldayoff can trade him to another club and receive some decent value.
Burmistrov is familiar with the NHL game, has a proven track record of being an
effective defensive player, and still has the potential to become at least a
50-point player in the NHL. Teams seeking a potential two-way, second line
centre could come calling. Is there a match made in heaven anywhere?
WELCOME TO OIL COUNTRY
While the Edmonton Oilers currently have a gaping hole at
centre on the second line, it is believed that Leon Draisaitl will eventually
hold that spot down, and may do it as early as this season. Aside from
Draisaitl, the Oilers will employ Anton Lander, Mark Arcobello and Boyd Gordon down the middle.
Considering the need for a reliable two-way centre ready to
help the team win now, it’s not all that far-fetched to believe the Oilers
could have interest in Burmistrov.
While he is young, Burmistrov will be 24 years old near the
start of the 2015-16 NHL season, and would fit in nicely with the developing
core of the Edmonton Oilers. Burmistrov was selected only seven spots after
Taylor Hall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, and he’ll join fellow Russian
youngster Nail Yakupov, giving him someone he can relate to.
New associate coach Craig Ramsay is familiar with the
player, and was Burmistrov’s first NHL coach with the Atlanta Thrashers. The
Oilers want to win now, and don’t mind sacrificing their future. They’re
equipped with a great group of defensemen prospects, and could offer the Jets a
package like Dillon Simpson, Kyle Platzer and a 2nd round pick in
either 2016 or 2017. Would that be enough to get it done?
RUSSIAN A PROSPECT INTO THE NHL
When the franchise was still a mess in Atlanta, they decided
Burmistrov was better suited for the NHL than to return to junior in his draft
year. The 19-year-old made his debut in the NHL that year and contributed six
goals and 20 points in 74 games to kick off his career.
After relocating to Winnipeg and new coach Claude Noel,
Burmistrov stalled and didn’t necessarily develop as a scorer in his sophomore
season, contributing 13-15-28 in 76 games.
Due to the infamous 2012 lockout, Burmistrov began the
season in the AHL, where he underwhelmed, only producing half a point per
game with the St. John’s IceCaps. Once the lockout ended, Burmistrov took
another step back, only scoring 10 points in 44 games.
That season completed Burmistrov’s entry-level deal and
he bolted for his homeland due to dissatisfaction with Claude Noel,
thus ruining his relationship with the franchise. Burmistrov’s offensive game
would have been better suited to develop at the junior level earlier, and his confidence
may have taken a hit.
He may have regained that confidence playing top-line
minutes in the KHL last season, and if he can produce well this coming
season, he’ll be ready to hit the ground running once he returns to the NHL.
SUM IT ALL UP
Burmistrov will be in the NHL again, but not likely with the Jets. The best news is that if he wants to play in the world’s best league,
he’ll need to sign a contract with the Jets, thus allowing the organization to
get something of value back.
I’d say the odds of Burmistrov wearing the Jets jersey again are similar to Alexandre Giroux becoming a top six forward in the NHL, which is similar to winning $10,000 on Black 13.