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Burmistrov sticking in KHL next year, won’t return to Jets

May 30, 2014, 6:32 PM EDT

Alexander Burmistrov Getty Images

Claude Noel might be long gone from Winnipeg, but that’s apparently not enough to get Alex Burmistrov back with the Jets.

Burmistrov will stick with KHL club Ak Bars Kazan next year rather than return to the NHL, agent Yuri Nikolaev told the Winnipeg Sun. Burmistrov, 22, spent last year in Russia and performed well for Ak Bars, scoring 10 goals and 37 points in 54 games, but there was some hope he’d be returning to the Jets after Noel — who Burmistrov reportedly clashed with throughout his two seasons in Winnipeg — was dismissed and replaced by Paul Maurice in mid-January.

Nikolaev did say, however, that Burmistrov will consider a return to the Jets once his two-year deal with Ak Bars concludes at the end of the 2014-15 campaign.

The eighth overall pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft — taken ahead of the likes of Mikael Granlund, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko — Burmistrov had a solid sophomore campaign with Winnipeg in 2011-12, scoring 13 goals and 28 points as a 20-year-old. He looked to be part of the Jets’ foundation moving forward, but tensions with Noel proved his undoing — both Burmistrov he and Nikolaev spoke publicly about how Noel’s presence behind the bench was one of the reasons for the move to Russia last summer.

Earlier this week, the Winnipeg Sun reported on rumors of Burmistov contemplating a move back to North America. It’s worth noting that while he’s not under contract to the Jets, Burmistrov’s rights remain with Winnipeg should he return to the NHL.


  1. scrouch - May 30, 2014 at 6:40 PM

    Not surprising. For the Jets he’d be at best a 3rd line centre and possibly just a 4th liner. In the KHL he’s getting paid far more than he would in Winnipeg and getting way more ice time. Not a lot of incentive to go back to Winnipeg unless he really just wants to play in the NHL, or doesn’t get as sweet a contract in the KHL after this contract is up.

  2. joey4id - May 30, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    Is it me, or have we seen more players choose to play in KHL than previously? I wonder how the NHL feels about that. Who will be the first superstar to bolt?

    • martysbetter - May 30, 2014 at 7:04 PM

      He…uh…already did.. 😦

    • channelguy - May 31, 2014 at 3:18 PM

      The guys who are leaving now or staying there are fringe players. The KHL is somewhere between the level of the bottom of the NHL and the AHL, and only a few teams, which have owners who are willing and able to lose a lot of money, can afford the big contracts. KHL attendance numbers are laughable – the worst basket cases in the NHL do better. The big TV money isn’t there either.

      Fourth line guys — some of whom are quite decent players — and minor leaguers, can often make more money in the K, short term anyway. But this isn’t a WHA or USFL situation, where lots of star players left. And it isn’t going to be.

  3. djshnooks - May 30, 2014 at 6:50 PM

    I see this two ways…

    1. I hate it. How can you work so hard to get to the NHL and just give up? Grigorenko and Armia in Buffalo really worry me when it comes to this.

    2. But, maybe this is a good place for a kid like Grigorenko. He was too young and raw for the NHL, not allowed in the AHL, and dominating the QMJHL. Just makes you wonder…will they ever come back?

    This is why more and more teams are going the college route, and staying away from euros, especially Russians. If only the KHL could be another “farm” league.

    I doubt we see this kid again, unless his rights are traded…which they apparently were supposed to be last year, to Buffalo…but they weren’t. Thank God. (Could have been a BAD Darcy move.)

  4. LampyB - May 30, 2014 at 10:41 PM

    The college route is solid though, look at Kreider, Dekeyser, etc.

    • phillyphanatic77 - May 30, 2014 at 11:04 PM

      And soon to be Gaudreau and Gostisbehere (crossing my fingers).

      • puregreed - May 31, 2014 at 2:03 AM


  5. pavelfitzgerald - May 31, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    Well we’ve seen the first superstar bolt – Kovalychuk.
    You really can’t blame these kids as they get more money in the KHL with a better role. This becomes problematic for your second or third tier players especially on their rookie or restricted FA contracts as they can make significantly more in the K & play closer to home. If the roles were reversed (i.e. A Canadian playong in Canada) I think we would all be a bit more sympathetic

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