The Winnipeg Jets are reportedly dangling former first-round draft pick Alex Burmitrov in pre-deadline trade talks, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
“He’s a restricted free agent and the Jets are now willing to throw him into any trade negotiations as part of the deal,” Dreger said of Burmistrov’s availability during an Insider Trading segment on TSN Thursday evening.
Burmistrov, 23, is currently playing for Kazan Ak-Bars of the KHL and has managed 10 goals and 26 points in 50 games this season.
Read past the jump for more!
We’ve discussed the prospect of Burmistrov returning to the NHL in this space in the recent past. Our site editor, the illustrious Mr. Garret Hohl, is a full blown Burmistrov-ista and summarized Burmistrov’s expected utility thusly:
Burmistrov repressed shots against relative to usage at a better rate than any current Jet other than Adam Lowry. Burmistrov also had a better differential relative to usage than all Jets except the top five. No player had a larger impact in relative Corsi (team’s Corsi with the player on the ice minus the player on the bench) than Burmistrov.
These are extremely good scores for Burmistrov, especially given that the current Jets are a stronger team in the shot metrics department and therefore relatively inflating the more recent results.
Still, scoring was an issue commonly brought up by fans. Burmistrov scored at 0.31 points per game in the NHL as a 19, 20, and 21 year-old. His scoring in the KHL has improved to 0.61 points per game, but this isn’t quite apples to apples. NHL equivalencies can be used to level the playing field, although they make some false assumptions in regards to TOI and PP usage.
I made some adjustments expecting similar 5v5 and power play TOI deployment as Adam Lowry and came out with an expected points per game range of 0.35 to 0.45. This range would put Burmistrov’s production between Adam Lowry’s 0.28 and Michael Frolik’s 0.49 this season.
Essentially Burmistrov is a young, natural centre who is a decent bet to provide solid-to-excellent two-way value upon his return to the NHL.
The problem for the Jets is: will potential trade partners view him as an NHL asset?
Some believe that he’s ready to come back into the NHL, some are wondering if in fact that’s true,” Dreger said of the situation. “So there’s a bit of a gamble, but Burmistrov definitely in play.”
Earlier this season Burmistrov told a Russian reporter that he didn’t believe his NHL career was done, and that he’d likely to be willing to accept a lesser salary in order to play in ‘the show’ once again at some undefined point in the future. The collapse of the Russian Ruble changes this equation. It’s possible that if the value of the Ruble continues to erode, Burmistrov may be able to make more money in North America than he’s been making with the KHL of late. Presumably that makes a potential return more likely.
If the Jets are prepared to cut Burmistrov loose for some short-term help up front you can’t really blame them, but it would be a sordid spot of asset management for the club. It will depend somewhat on the return, but it seems likely that in trading Burmistrov the Jets would be selling low on a young player who plays a premium position.