The Winnipeg Jets met with Mike Liut, the agent for centre Alexander Burmistrov, in Florida this week.
On Thursday, Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff described those conversations and productive and ongoing.
“We had a chance to meet yesterday (with Mike Liut) and we had some good discussions and we’ll keep those discussions going,” Cheveldayoff told the media on Thursday.
If the Jets were to bring Burmistrov back into the fold, this would be a high-leverage time to do it. Winnipeg appears likely to lose a handful of unrestricted free agents, and middle-six defensive ace Michael Frolik in particular appears to be drawing a daunting level of interesting during the free agent courting period.
While Burmistrov would be a cost-controlled forward with decent defensive chops were he to return, in a conversation discussing the situation with the Winnipeg Free Press earlier this week, Cheveldayoff struck the tone of a man who was maybe considering using Burmistrov as trade bait.
“In this game you have to be prepared for a lot of different things. You look around the league and there’s situations like this that happen… you just have to have an open mind and continue to build,” Cheveldayoff said. “Burmi is a young player still, and around the league young players are what teams are coveting. Again, you need to have that growth. In order to take the next steps as franchises, you need to have players in your organization that have not reached their ceiling. That’s where the youth comes in.”
That focus in Cheveldayoff’s comments on Burmistrov’s value is very interesting, and reading between the lines, it would seem that the Jets might reasonably look to use him as currency if they see a credible route to improving their team.
Either way, this situation is poised to resolve itself in the very near future. Whether it’s a trade, or whether Burmistrov fills in for one of Winnipeg’s many outgoing unrestricted forwards, it would seem that the Russian-born forward is poised to make his NHL return next season.