Alexander Burmistrov played in 194 NHL games with the Atlanta Thrashers and Winnipeg Jets after being taken with the eighth overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. However, once his entry-level contract expired, Burmistrov made the decision to sign with Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL.
Losing a promising 21-year-old forward is obviously a tough blow for the Jets, but perhaps it’s not a surprising one. He was reportedly unhappy in Winnipeg and wanted to be traded due in part to his clashes with head coach Claude Noel.
Any doubt on the subject was put to rest when Burmistrov’s agent Yuri Nikolaev was asked if his relationship with Noel was a motivating factor in his clients decision to leave the Jets.
“That was one of the reasons why he left,” Nikolaev confirmed through translator Ruslan Kim, according to the Winnipeg Sun.
To be clear, that wasn’t the only factor. Burmistrov will get a chance to play for his hometown team and his salary “is more than $2 million USD.”
He’s also open to returning to the NHL eventually, but the Jets can control his North American rights until he’s 27 if they want.
It certainly sounds like they’ll go that route, given that they said in a statement that Burmistrov “remains a very talented player within the Jets organization and we will continue to monitor his progress and development going forward.”