Burmistrov looking for fresh start, offensive opportunity with Coyotes

Jan 14, 2017, 9:45 AM
Winnipeg Jets' Alexander Burmistrov (6) carries the puck into the Pittsburgh Penguins' zone between...

Winnipeg Jets' Alexander Burmistrov (6) carries the puck into the Pittsburgh Penguins' zone between Brian Dumoulin (8) and Nick Bonino (13) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015. (Trevor Hagan/The Canadian Press via AP)

(Trevor Hagan/The Canadian Press via AP)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice was frank when discussing the Jets’ reasons for waiving center Alex Burmistrov on Jan. 2.

“Alex has a real strong view of what he’s good at,” Maurice told reporters. “That’s the most important thing: that a coach and player agree on what they’re good at and then the coach will put them in the position to succeed. Alex and I never would really agree on that.”

Burmistrov was equally frank when discussing the role he thought he would have with Winnipeg when he returned last season after two seasons playing for Kazan Ak-Bars in the Kontinental Hockey League.

“That’s why I came back,” he said Friday. “It wasn’t the role that they told me.”

Ice time and role are never guaranteed in professional leagues, and Burmistrov certainly did not earn any guarantees from coach Dave Tippett upon his arrival at 2 a.m. Arizona time. What he will get is opportunity.

“I like to look at it as a clean slate coming in,” Tippett said. “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.”

Burmistrov is looking forward to a change of scenery on a couple fronts. He had just two points in 23 games this season, averaging 11:02 of ice time per game before the Jets waived him. He spent the last 11 days in Vancouver with his girlfriend seeing the sights while he waited for his work visa and passport issues to be resolved.

“We walked around the city a lot so if you have any questions I have the answers,” he quipped. “I know the city really well.”

Burmistrov never really got any answers as to why the process took so long.

“I guess they’re just off; the consulate doesn’t work on weekends and Friday and Thursday — and probably Monday and Tuesday,” he joked. “At some point it was like, ‘enough is enough.'”

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.

His departure from the NHL was also sparked by unhappiness with his role under then-coach Claude Noël and bitterness over being assigned to the AHL, rather than being allowed to pursue a better deal in Russia during the lockout. Upon his return to Winnipeg, he had seven goals and 21 points last year, but saw his role diminish even more this season.

“Alex and I have had a number of conversations about what he was hoping to have here,” Maurice said. “I just had other players ahead of him and the role he was looking for wasn’t here. Maybe he gets that opportunity he’s been looking for to play with the top-end guys and get some power-play minutes, things like that.”

When asked what he can bring to the Coyotes, Burmistrov acknowledged that he would have to wait and see.

“I think I’m a reader of the ice,” he said. “I’m more of a playmaker than a goal scorer but again, you’ve got to score goals too in this league if you want to play in this league. I feel like I’m going to have lots of opportunities on this team and I’ve just got to produce.”

Tippett hasn’t decided whether he’ll play Saturday against Anaheim. Burmistrov hasn’t played since Dec. 6, sitting as a healthy scratch 10 times before he was waived.

“We’ll see where he’s at (Saturday), see where we’re at after the [Friday’s] game,” Tippett said. “I envision him playing, for sure, this week. Whether or not it’s (Saturday), we’ll see.”

Burmistrov is tired of waiting, but he knows it is just a short matter of time before his chance comes.

“I’m just really excited to be here right now and the past is the past,” he said. “I’m just going to forget about it.”


Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter

Arizona Coyotes

St. Louis Blues right wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) celebrates with center Brayden Schenn (10) and cen...
Associated Press

Blues’ Buchnevich suspended 2 games for headbutting Coyotes’ Crouse

St. Louis Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich has been suspended two games for headbutting Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse.
2 days ago
Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (6) and St. Louis Blues center Ryan O'Reilly battle for t...
Tom Kuebel

Coyotes drop home opener after 2nd-period barrage by the Blues

The Coyotes got out to a fast start in their home opener, but the Blues broke the game open in the second period to put it out of reach.
2 days ago
Arizona Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka (70) makes a save in traffic during the first period of an NH...
Associated Press

Coyotes get first point of the season in shootout loss to Sabres

Arizona Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka made 32 saves to help the team pick up a point against the Buffalo Sabres.
5 days ago
Conor Timmins #25 of the Arizona Coyotes controls the puck against Eric Robinson #50 of the Columbu...
Associated Press

Blue Jackets breeze past Coyotes in season opener

The Arizona Coyotes dropped the season opener and first game under coach Andre Tourigny 8-2 on the road against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
7 days ago
Andrew Ladd #16 of the Arizona Coyotes at a faceoff during a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings in ...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Coyotes name alternate captains for season opener

The Arizona Coyotes have named their alternate captains for the season opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
7 days ago
FILE - In this July 1, 2021, file photo, Arizona Coyotes new head coach Andre Tourigny speaks durin...
Associated Press

Arizona Coyotes enter 2021-22 with overhauled roster

With a slew of new faces, the Arizona Coyotes are hoping to reshape a franchise that’s been to the playoffs just once in the past nine years.
7 days ago
Burmistrov looking for fresh start, offensive opportunity with Coyotes