Monday, 30 April 2012

Hold Your Jets On This KHL Story

I was shocked when the story broke earlier today that KHL team Ak Bars Kazan had apparently approached Alexander Burmistrov of the Winnipeg Jets about accepting a contract to jump across the pond to play in the KHL. While there is no transfer agreement currently in place between the NHL and KHL, there is a friendly understanding that neither league will poach players under contract in their respective leagues. Unfortunately, it appears that Ak Bars Kazan has decided that it wants the services of the young Winnipeg Jets back in Russia and playing for them.

Peter Adler, writer for The Cult of Hockey in the Edmonton Journal, wrote,
"Shamil Khusnutdinov, the club’s director, is confirming that Kazan has also offered a contract to Alexander Burmistrov of the Winnipeg Jets."
This is interesting news considering that Burmistrov has one year remaining on his NHL contract at $1.5 million. If Ak Bars Kazan is viewing Burmistrov as the next Alexander Radulov, I'm not sure that they're barking up the right tree.

Burmistrov is preparing for the IIHF World Hockey Championships in Russia, and, according to Adler, apparently the KHL club has already contacted the young winger about the possibility of playing for his hometown team next season.
"Khusnutdinov would not reveal any more details other than the club’s representatives have already talked to Burmistrov who is now in training with Team Russia for the world championships."
It does need to be said that Burmistrov is represented by agent Mark Gandler who helped Alexei Yashin find a new lease on his hockey life by getting him out of the contract he had signed with the New York Islanders and into a new deal with SKA St. Petersburg.

With all this being said, I'm not sure how much I believe of this story. Alexander Burmistrov was a player that Jets fans seem to like this season even if his occasional disappearances for games at a time drove them a little mad. But he's a young player, and that will happen. In Adler's piece, he only has what seems like the Russian side of the story, and I'm not sure how much faith one can have in the Ak Bars Kazan's side of the story when it appeared that Burmistrov was enjoying his time in Winnipeg. And, of course, no one spoke to Gandler, so there is definitely a large gap that needs to be bridged between reality and fantasy right now.

If Burmistrov is intending to make the jump across the pond, it may be the last time that he is seen in the NHL. I'm going to state here that I doubt Winnipeg will trade his rights nor will they allow a situation like Radulov's to play out where Burmistrov can simply burn the final year of his contract by playing out the last few regular season games. Of course, we also need to hear Burmistrov's side of the story, and there may be major details we're all missing here as we pass judgment.

I'm not here to tell Alexander Burmistrov how to live his life, but I think that, if this story is indeed true, he needs to re-evaluate his options. I thought he showed great potential in Winnipeg, and he could be a solid contributor for many years to come. Sure, he may be a first-line star for Ak Bars Kazan, but it's not the NHL. And that's the dream of all hockey players.

A dream that Burmistrov is currently experiencing.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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