With the Thrashers moving to Winnipeg, a lot of players having to change their address to the Canadian prairie from urbanized Atlanta makes for one hell of a change. While a lot of Canadian players might be excited to move to Canada and play in front of raucous crowds in Winnipeg, for others it’s a change that makes them feel more at home.
For a young guy like Alex Burmistrov, the Jets’ not-quite 20 year-old Russian forward, moving to Winnipeg is the sort of thing that’s got him feeling excited about the changes he and the rest of the team are about to discover.
Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun finds out from Burmistrov that the differences they’ll face in Winnipeg compared to Atlanta won’t be too much of a shock to his system.
“People love hockey here and it’s cold here and that’s what I know,” Burmistrov said Thursday after skating at the MTS IcePlex.
“It’s -35 celsius in the winter in my hometown. Same thing.”
Burmistrov comes from Kazan, Russia, but has played two seasons in North America, the first with the Barrie Colts of the OHL and the second with the Atlanta Thrashers.
He admitted the last two seasons were difficult, especially being so far away from home.
“It was hard to be by myself, with no family,” he said.
Burmistrov was Atlanta’s first round pick in 2010 and got a quick introduction to the NHL last season appearing in 74 games with the Thrashers and scoring six goals with 14 assists while playing most of his time on the third and fourth lines. For a rookie, playing on those deeper lines which don’t get as much ice time can make life tough for a player to develop.
This season, Burmistrov figures to get more minutes and a better chance to show off the offensive skills that made him the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft. Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff already feels like Burmistrov is already a strong defensive player, but guys aren’t taken eighth overall to be checking forwards, he’s going to have to start scoring goals to live up tot hat billing. It might not all come this season, but we should see him get ahead of offensive tallies from last year.
One thing is for sure, with Burmistrov, Evander Kane, and Bryan Little there’s plenty of youth to go around at forward. Having these guys all grow together will work out in the long run for Winnipeg and the fans will go nuts for them.