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‘Yotes Notes: Burmistrov will have opportunities under Tippett

Jan 3, 2017, 7:26 PM | Updated: Jan 4, 2017, 2:55 pm
Winnipeg Jets center Alexander Burmistrov (6) shields the puck from Arizona Coyotes defenseman Zbyn...
Winnipeg Jets center Alexander Burmistrov (6) shields the puck from Arizona Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. The Coyotes won 4-2. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — When the Winnipeg Jets waived center Alexander Burmistrov on Sunday, Coyotes general manager John Chayka didn’t have to think long when pondering whether to put in a claim.

“It was unanimous across the board with our scouts, which is actually fairly rare,” Chayka said. “The consensus is he’s a good kid, works hard, and really wants to make it work in the NHL.”

Burmistrov will likely get a good chance once he sorts out his work visa issues. He is expected to join the team in Vancouver for its game on Wednesday against the Canucks, but he won’t play before Friday’s game in Anaheim, or Saturday’s game against the Islanders and the immigration process could take even longer.

The Atlanta Thrashers (now Winnipeg) selected Burmistrov with the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft. They saw potential in his skill and Burmistrov had a good rookie campaign with 13 goals and 28 points in 2011-12. With the 2012-13 lockout still in effect, Burmistrov started the season in the AHL before being recalled to Winnipeg. At the end of that season, as a restricted free agent, he signed a two-year deal with Ak Bars Kazan of the Kontinental Hockey League.

His departure from the NHL was sparked by unhappiness with his role under then-coach Claude Noël, and bitterness over being assigned to the AHL, rather being allowed to pursue a better deal in Russia during the lockout.

Upon his return to Winnipeg this season, Burmistrov had just two points before the Jets waived him.

“I’ve watched him quite a bit; I watched him at the World Championships,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “There is some skill there. It’s just a matter of translating it to on-ice success. Some of it depends on how much ice time [he gets], special teams…

“I like to look at it as a clean slate coming in. If you dissect things from his old team you get an idea but you’ve got to come in and put him in a role here. Sometimes, it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.”

More often than not, waiver pickups don’t pan out and it is rare for waived players to be significant offensive producers in a different setting, but the Coyotes have no qualms acknowledging they are desperate for center help after Brad Richardson suffered a long-term injury, Dylan Strome wasn’t ready for the NHL and Laurent Dauphin needed more work on his puck game in a greater offensive role in Tucson.

When asked if this move was made because the position is still in flux and he needs more from his centers, Tippett nodded.

“That would be a fair statement,” he said. “We’ve had [Jordan] Martinook in the middle there for a long time but I’d like to get him back to the wing so trying to find people to fill those center spots has been a challenge.”

DeANGELO’S MISTAKE 

Tippett offered his thoughts on Tuesday in the wake of defenseman Anthony DeAngelo’s three-game suspension for physical abuse of an official.

“That’s a big no-no,” Tippett said of DeAngelo’s actions. “You don’t touch the referees and I think the NHL has been very consistent with that.”

Given DeAngelo’s past transgressions, there will be some who consider this a continuation of his immature behavior, but Tippett said that is not the case.

“There’s been no incidents whatsoever,” Tippett said. “He’s been very good with us. He’s a competitive player. He gets on the ice, competitive. It’s one that he’s got to learn from; take the punishment and move on.

“I would be very surprised if anything were ever to happen like that in his career again.”

Chayka offered more thoughts.

“If you actually look at the play, he steps in for a teammate and is trying to do the right thing, had all the right intentions, but he’s emotional, he’s competitive, wants to win and we’re going through a tough stretch here. He went over the line and like I said, maybe something with good intentions ends up with a bad result but he’s got to learn from it. If he wants to play in this league, and play in this league for a long time like he can, he’s obviously got to keep his emotions in check.”

WORLD JUNIORS UPDATE

Russia, the United States, Canada and Sweden advanced to Wednesday’s semifinals of the World Junior Championship at Bell Centre in Montreal.

A pair of Coyotes prospects — Clayton Keller (USA) and Dylan Strome (Canada) — are tied for third in the tournament in scoring (with Russia’s Mikhail Vorobyov) with eight points, while Jens Looke has a goal and an assist for Sweden.

Keller is listed at 5-foot-10 but is not that tall in face-to-face interviews. Here’s what Chayka had to say when asked if Keller projected as a center or a wing in the NHL.

“I think he can definitely play center. When you look at some of those other similar, smaller players — Patrick Kane, Jonathan Drouin — people had them as centers and they had played some center in their careers but I always saw those guys as wingers.

“For me, Clayton is more of a center than those guys. He’s more involved defensively I think he’s better on faceoffs. Those are really important parts of his game.

“Having said that, you’re trying to optimize a player and when your skills are in the offensive zone off the rush, sometimes the wing is a better spot for it. Right now, he’s playing the wing and he looks good there. I think the ability to play all three forward positions — which is what Clayton possesses — is a strength.”

INJURY UPDATE

— Chayka said there is still no timeline on a return for center Brad Richardson (broken right tibia and fibula). Left wing Max Domi (broken hand) has started skating and Chayka estimates his return time at about a month. Domi will have to pass more medical mileposts in the next week or so before the Coyotes are more certain on his timeline.

Coyotes at Canucks

When: 8 p.m., Wednesday

Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, B.C.

TV: FOX Sports Arizona

Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM

Records: Coyotes 11-21-5. Canucks 18-12-3.

Injury report: Coyotes — C Brad Richardson (broken right tibia and fibula) and LW Max Domi (hand) are out indefinitely. RW Ryan White (lower body) is on IR. Canucks — F Derek Dorsett (neck) is out for the season. F Jannik Hansen (knee) and D Erik Gudbranson (wrist) and Phillip Larsen (upper body) are on IR.

Scouting the Canucks: Vancouver has won four in a row to pull back into playoff contention. The Canucks were one point behind the final wild card sport at the start of play Tuesday … 2013 first-round pick Bo Horvat leads the team with 11 goals and 26 points. … G Ryan Miller has allowed five goals on 89 shots over his last three games; all wins.

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‘Yotes Notes: Burmistrov will have opportunities under Tippett