The Canucks have been one of the league’s busier teams this morning, signing their fifth player of NHL Free Agency: a $900,000 one-year pact with Russian winger Alex Burmistrov.
— J.D. Burke (@JDylanBurke) July 1, 2017
If the price wasn’t indicative of this already, Burmistrov is much more of a depth signing for the Canucks.
A former Atlanta Thrashers first-round pick (eighth overall), Burmistrov has never lived up to the offensive expectations placed on him by his draft position. After debuting at 19, he spent three seasons in the Atlanta/Winnipeg organization, topping out at 13 goals and 28 points in 2011-12 before returning to Russia. After a pair of years in the KHL, he came back to the Jets for two and half seasons before being dealt to the Coyotes in 2016-17.
The dichotomy between his NHL appearances before and after his return to the KHL is interesting. Early in his career, he was a play driving winger with impressive shot metrics that couldn’t really score. In his second NHL stint, he’s still a winger who can’t really score, but now his on-ice numbers have gone in the tank as well. Even as a fourth liner, Burmistrov’s underlying metrics are less than impressive – last year he carried a Corsi-For percentage of 43.1%.
At 25-years old, Burmistrov is pretty much what he is at this point – if the Canucks are looking for that untapped, eighth overall potential, they’ll surely be disappointed. But Burmistrov should at least provide some depth and competition in the bottom six, and even with his low production, he could still outscore a lot of bottom six options that the Canucks were rolling with last year like Derek Dorsett, Michael Chaput, and Drew Shore, among a cast of others. He also has some history of solid play-driving ability, even if they’re a few years in the past now.
If nothing else, Burmistrov is a serviceable option that allows the Canucks to keep their top prospects, like Brock Boeser, Jake Virtanen, and Nikolay Goldobin, in the American League for a little bit of extra seasoning.