Why Alexander Burmistrov may be a bad trade chip

Yesterday it was reported that Alexander Burmistrov’s rights are in play as a possible asset in a trade for obtaining depth. There have been some rumours that the young forward will return as soon as next year. The KHL has been struggling with the drop of the Ruble adds extra incentives.

Does Burmistrov make for a good trading chip?

The Jets are in need of some extra depth. Yesterday the Jets played with Chris Thorburn and T.J. Galiardi as wingers. They also decided to play with Adam Pardy, a defender, as a forward on the fourth line. There are not too many ways a coach can cry out for some help more than putting a depth defender on forward.

As of this moment the Jets sit just above the playoff threshold. A little push in either direction can make or break the team’s post-seasons hope.

These are all incentives for Kevin Cheveldayoff to trade for some help, but does it make sense to use Burmistrov?

Full discretion: I’m a fan of Burmistrov, but not out of the typical reasons. I like what Alexander Burmistrov represents statistically. Burmistrov is a strong driver of Corsi percentage.

Scoring is important. After all, someone has to put the puck in the net. However, those that improve shot differentials are also impacting the team’s probability in winning the game. The added caveat though is Corsi percentage tends to be valued lower than scoring relative to their impact in winning.

In the move 2011 movie based off a book, Moneyball, Peter Brand says:

People who run ball clubs, they think in terms of buying players. Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players, your goal should be to buy wins. And in order to buy wins, you need to buy runs.

Hockey has never had the revolution that sabermetrics had on baseball, nor will they ever. Teams have been looking data for a long while. Scoring chances have been tracked by teams for decades. With hockey it’s more about better analyzing that data and discovering what drives wins.

Burmistrov is a player who drives wins through shot metrics, which are undervalued in hockey’s free agency market. That same market gives you a good idea on how that is valued in terms of the trade market. Sure a GM may understand that Burmistrov’s numbers represent some underlying usefulness, but they won’t have to pay for its worth.

While anything is possible, most probable is that the team willing to buy Burmistrov is selling a rental. The value to the Jets is getting the utility now; however, it will likely hurt them in the long run. Most likely Burmistrov’s trade value is less than 20 games of a player lesser than him.

The discrepancy between his trade value and true value extends from the unknown of his return.

This unknown impacts his value to the Jets also. Jets don’t gain anything if Burmistrov stays in the KHL. However, that unknown impacts the Jets less than a trade partner. A trade partner will be actively selling a known commodity in return for value based on potential. For the Jets, they already have always had this unknown possibility of return. The cost in unknown of a free lottery ticket is not quite the same as the cost of unknown in purchasing the same lottery ticket.

Of course, there are exceptions. Jets had one recent example with Evander Kane. It came to a point where Kane and Jets needed to move separate ways. The return for Kane was great considering the situation, but the average expected value with Kane is likely larger than the two prospects, the late first-round pick, and one year of Drew Stafford (if considering Tyler Myers and Zach Bogosian a lateral trade). Kane’s on-ice value will be missed; however, it was likely going to be missed anyways.

There has yet to be any confirmed reports of any unrest with Burmistrov and the Jets other than disagreements with Claude Noel and how he handled things. If there is something more though, moving Burmistrov – even if the value isn’t perfect – may be the most sensible move.

Otherwise, it would likely be better to try and use Burmistrov to improve the Jets depth by adding him to the roster. After all, the Jets aren’t really gunning it just for this year.

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