One of the major storylines to follow for the Winnipeg Jets as we near the early stages of the offseason is whether or not Alex Burmistrov wants to remain in Winnipeg.
Burmistrov was drafted eighth-overall in 2010 and has just played out the final year of his entry-level contract making him a restricted free agent this offseason. This gives the Jets a few options. Should they trade him or attempt to re-sign him?
The Jets may be forced into a trade and the fault lies with their head coach.
It’s no secret Burmistrov is unhappy after what Claude Noel put him through during the regular season. Burmistrov was consistently scratched, extremely misused and given little to no ice time each game. Not to mention the incapable line mates he played with when he actually played in a game.
The fact that Burmistrov was playing on the fourth line more times than not should say it all.
Noel’s philosophy seems to be if you skate hard you get to play top minutes in a scoring role even if you score one goal a season. In other words, if you’re a fourth liner you can play on the first line. Apparently Noel believes a player like James Wright is more fitting in a scoring role than Burmistrov.
It’s also a head scratcher when lower-tier players are playing worse than Burmistrov and getting promoted for it while Burmistrov sits in the presser. But with communication between Noel and Burmistrov nonexistent, Noel never explained why this occurred. He barely even talked about Burmistrov, why he was scratched, or why he played in roles he’s unfit for.
Burmistrov isn’t fitting in with the Jets because Noel isn’t allowing that to happen. Burmistrov has to play in a scoring role with skilled wingers, not in a checking role on the fourth line where he’ll be lucky to see three minutes a game. Noel clearly isn’t using him properly even though he outshines most of what the Jets have on their roster.
Burmistrov is a solid possession player and has good Corsi stats. He’s also a two-way forward with both an offensive and defensive side to his game. What more is there to ask for from a young, 21-year-old forward continuing to grow at the NHL level?
Sure, Burmistrov hasn’t blossomed into some world beater yet, but he’s on the path to becoming a solid NHL player. Besides, most NHL center prospects don’t come in right away and light the world on fire.
There was always a waiting game with Burmistrov and now he might not even be a Jet in the long run.
With that being said, if Burmistrov is truly unhappy, the Jets may be forced to trade him even if the return isn’t what they expect. Unless Kevin Cheveldayoff can sit down with him and try to work something out, Burmistrov’s tenure in Winnipeg will come to an end.
If Burmistrov wants out of Winnipeg, don’t say it was because of the city, team, or teammates. The blame is all on Claude Noel here.