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Woe Winnipeg: Burmistrov signs in KHL (Update: Jets respond)

Jul 8, 2013, 12:20 PM EDT

Alexander Burmistrov Getty Images

The Winnipeg Jets may have suffered their first significant loss of free agency.

According to Russian media outlet Sports.ru, forward Alexander Burmistrov has signed a two-year pact with Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL.

UPDATE: The Jets have confirmed the signing and GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has addressed it with the following statement…

“Through our conversations and correspondence with Alex and his agent, it became apparent Alex had a desire to continue his development as a young player in the KHL.

“He remains a very talented player within the Jets organization and we will continue to monitor his progress and development going forward.”

Burmistrov, 21, was selected eighth overall by Atlanta at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and enjoyed a successful rookie campaign (6G-14A in 74 games) with the Thrashers, followed by a successful sophomore campaign (13G-15A in 76 games) with the Jets.

His third year in the league, though, was far less successful.

Burmistrov had just 10 points in 44 games during the lockout-shortened campaign — made a healthy scratch four times — and, following the season, reports surfaced of him being unhappy in Winnipeg, including this from the Winnipeg Free Press:

Burmistrov wished to be dealt at the trade deadline and the Jets worked in vain to move him. It appears a trade is still the preferred course of action.

Burmistrov and head coach Claude Noel beefed on and off over the past two seasons and the relationship hit an all-time low when the player was a healthy scratch four straight games in March.

The Jets attempted to trade Burmistrov and reportedly had discussions with the Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders at the deadline. The names Jakob Silfverberg, Drew Stafford and Kyle Okposo have all been attached to Burmistrov trade rumours.

Since that story broke, there have been indications Burmistrov would pass on re-upping with the Jets to re-join Ak Bars, the club he represented at the junior and senior levels prior to getting drafted.

What’s interesting, though, is that his agent shot those rumors down.

Back in May, the Free Press reached out to Burmistrov’s representative, Mark Gandler, who completely nixed the idea of his client playing in Russia.

“The only question I’m going to answer is to say that Alex is not going to sign in the KHL,” Gandler said at the time.

Sounds like things have changed.

As for the future — the Jets can keep Burmistrov’s rights until he’s 27 years old, so long as they continue to issue a qualifying offer each offseason, according to the Winnipeg Sun.

  1. lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 8, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    I get the feeling this kid’s career has been either ruined or nearly so (don’t know what else I expected from Atlanta). He showed flashes of impressive promise with tons of speed, a nasty wristshot and a Datsyukian ability to dangle. Unfortunately, he seemed to lack confidence and spent too much time on the perimeter, like a puppy trying to build up courage but too afraid to jump in the pool. It was great to see him get gritty and start hitting guys last year but his offensive production suffered further. Hopefully he can get that touch and confidence back in Russia. It always sucks to see a talented kid like that lose steam.

  2. jb8588 - Jul 8, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    As much as I like Burmistrov, this comes to show EXACTLY why there is such a thing as the “russian factor” when it comes to drafting russian players.

  3. dj4aces - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Seems pretty clear to me that he was misused in Winnipeg. That has nothing to do with Atlanta and “expectations” and everything to do with poor personnel decisions by the new Jets organization.

    Remember too, the kid did not want to play in the KHL for any reason. Do you think he would be doing this if the kid had what he needed in the NHL? Not a chance. Burmi would have re-signed if things were all rosey in Winnipeg. At least in Russia, his development won’t be stunted by healthy scratches and playing on the fourth line. He’s not gonna be a scapegoat in Kazan.

    With the lack of depth in Winnipeg, the last thing they needed to do was alienate a dynamic young player and chase him off to Russia.

  4. askhughknows - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    Just another Jet prospect that can’t seem to live up to the Jet’s administration (ChevyDAYOFF) 5 year plan. How many more young prospects will be swept to the curb because of Noel’s poor coaching? What a sad notation on the Jet’s re-entry to the NHL. Tough to be too excited as a season ticket holder…especially at these prices for entertainment.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:33 AM

      While I don’t have any beef at all with Chevy, I’m fairly certain this will be a make-or-break year for Noel. I’m quite concerned about their whole defensive system. They seriously need to figure out something with Byfuglien, or at least stop pairing him with Enstrom. My hopes are up for a Seto-Frolik/maybe Scheifele-Kane line, but until they can get a #1 center, I don’t think they’re going to be a threat, especially not after the realignment. That’s something that is out of Noel’s hands.

      As far as Burmistrov goes, Noel can’t go out there and force the kid to play offense. Burmi hung out on the perimeter but never got too involved. What would you do in that situation? He should have been sat like he was. If he didn’t like it, then fine, go somewhere else.

  5. mrpinkca - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    I think it’s time to face the facts: Winnipeg does not have enough parks to be a viable NHL franchise.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 9, 2013 at 10:09 AM

      We are shamefully lacking in the parks department. Kilcona, Assiniboine, The Forks, and Polo just don’t cut it. Forget draft picks, Chevy! This is not the time for hotels, Mr. Chipman! We need parks! Build them, and they, the players, will come! Breezy might anyway…

  6. bardown66 - Jul 8, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    He may just have not been that great to begin with….this franchise has a history of that dating back to early years in atlanta. Hopefully they eventually turn the corner. Hope burmistrov has fun playing in that second rate league. its like AAA baseball lol.

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