The Winnipeg Jets are currently battling in the Eastern Conference for a playoff spot, but other concerns are starting to develop.
Forward Alex Burmistrov was benched in Sunday’s loss against the New Jersey Devils. Coach Claude Noel then followed the benching by scratching Burmistrov in Tuesday’s win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. There’s a cause for concern with the whole Burmistrov situation.
Burmistrov was seen smiling on the bench during Sunday’s game shortly after being benched. Hopefully this isn’t the reasoning behind the benching. Sadly, it probably is. Or maybe it’s an attitude problem. Who knows?
One thing for sure is that Burmistrov’s benching isn’t a result of poor play.
Burmistrov’s statistics and on ice performance doesn’t really warrant a benching or scratch. He’s been outplaying and outperforming more than a few Jets players throughout the entire season. Sure, he isn’t putting up mind-blowing numbers, but that’s expected from the defensive-minded youngster.
The question now is where do the Jets go from here with Burmistrov?
Will the scratch Tuesday night lead to another scratch on Thursday night? How long is Noel going to keep this up? Or maybe the organization goes with the other possibility—trading Burmistrov.
Hopefully the Jets stray far away from any thought of trading Burmistrov.
It would be a complete disaster if the Jets go that route. Trading away Burmistrov would only be a testament to how poor this franchise is at developing young players. The Jets/Thrashers have had a history of bad development.
And let’s be honest, what has Burmistrov done negatively to warrant a trade?
Burmistrov is not a locker room cancer. He’s a very coachable player, and he has tremendous potential that is still locked away. He’s still developing and has to be developed properly. Being scratched and being in the coach’s dog house doesn’t bode well for anybody.
Is Burmistrov untouchable? No. But if the Jets were to trade him, they’d have to get the better end of the deal. Unless they were getting a top-tier center prospect in return, any trade would be moot. There’s just no reason to trade him right now.
This is only Burmistrov’s third season in the NHL. He’s 21 years old (would have been 20 had the season started with no lockout). He was thrown into the NHL as an 18-year-old right out of the draft. There’s still plenty of time for him to develop his skills. Some players take years. The Jets have to be patient.
The Jets are a rebuilding franchise and Burmistrov is a part of it. If Noel thinks benching one of the Jets’ best forwards is a smart move then maybe he’s the one that has to be questioned. Clearly, something is wrong here.
Burmistrov has to be in the lineup every night from here on out. Not just because he needs the time to develop, but because there isn’t a single scratched player on the roster that comes close to replacing his talent.
With Burmistrov in the lineup, the Jets have a better chance at winning. They have a better chance of scoring goals as well. They have a better chance at making the playoffs.