How benching Alexander Burmistrov makes no sense (with numbers!)

USA TODAY Sports

What do the numbers say about Alexander Burmistrov? Is he really underachieving?

Much fuss has been made about the recent benching of Alexander Burmistrov. Is the fuss warranted? Probably not. Young NHLers get their ice time docked all the time. Is the benching a reflection of his play? Probably, but despite recent struggles his play hasn't been bad.

I understand that his play can be frustrating as there is clearly a ton of talent there, but Alexander Burmistrov really isn't lagging far behind his peers. He is still very young and by no means should we expect him to be a finished product. Plus pretty much every underlying stat suggest he is pretty darn effective.

Lets take a look at some simple numbers.

Alexander Burmistrov is:

Tied for 6th among Jets forwards in 5 on 5 scoring

6th among Jets forwards in shots on goal.

7th among all Jets in goals scored.

6th among Jets forwards in assists.

Scoring more that twice as many points per minute that Olli Jokinen .

Tied for 3rd on the team in plus/minus.

Arguably the Jets most effective penalty killer (sorry, but James Wright is not in that convo)

Are those numbers elite? No, but they surely aren't the mark of somebody who is hurting the team.

Now, lets get into nerdier, dirtier numbers.

Quality of Competition:

NAME Corsi QoC
ANDREWLADD 2.025
BLAKEWHEELER 1.983
BRYANLITTLE 1.929
NIKANTROPOV 1.779
EVANDERKANE 1.66
KYLEWELLWOOD 1.633
ALEXANDERBURMISTROV 1.147
OLLIJOKINEN 0.725
JIMSLATER 0.306
ERICTANGRADI 0.229
CHRISTHORBURN -0.161
JAMESWRIGHT -0.99

Numbers from Behindthenet.ca

This number is based on the Corsi rating of opponents and weighted by the amount of ice time a player's opposition plays. A higher number means the opponents log more ice, which generally means they are better. A low number or minus usually mean a player is matching up against 4th liners.

Note that Burmi is logging tougher minutes than Olli Jokinen on average. He has handled the 7th toughest minutes among Jets regulars.

Corsi (Shots + Missed Shots + Blocked Differential):

NAME Corsi On
KYLEWELLWOOD 9.35
ALEXANDERBURMISTROV 3.25
ERICTANGRADI 3.06
EVANDERKANE 2.19
ANDREWLADD 0.81
NIKANTROPOV -0.53
OLLIJOKINEN -2.01
BRYANLITTLE -4.3
BLAKEWHEELER -4.55
JAMESWRIGHT -7.45
CHRISTHORBURN -8.61
JIMSLATER -11.55

Numbers from Behindthenet.ca

Alexander Burmistrov is one of only 5 Jets forwards that has his team routinely out shooting the opposition while he is on the ice. This speaks to his two-way game. Note Burmistrov is ahead of Olli Jokinen despite Olli getting easier minutes.

With You / Without You analysis:

When on ice Together BURMISTROV when apart Teammate when apart
Player GF20 GA20 GF% CF% GF20 GA20 GF% CF% GF20 GA20 GF% CF% G%+/- C%+/-
BURMISTROV, ALEXANDER 0.692 0.35 66.7 51.8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PAVELEC, ONDREJ 0.641 0.36 64.3 50.4 0.91 0.302 75 57 0.72 1.02 41.3 48.6 23 1.8
KANE, EVANDER 0.874 0.25 77.8 48.7 0.54 0.428 55.6 55.2 0.75 1.17 39.1 50.7 38.7 -2
ANTROPOV, NIK 0.997 0.43 70 50.9 0.48 0.29 62.5 52.5 0.61 0.4 60 50 10 0.9
HAINSEY, RON 0.703 0.53 57.1 47.6 0.69 0.257 72.7 53.7 0.75 0.86 46.4 45.4 10.7 2.2
POSTMA, PAUL 0.572 0.38 60 50.8 0.74 0.33 69.2 52.2 0.65 0.87 42.9 56.5 17.1 -5.7
BYFUGLIEN, DUSTIN 0.954 0.19 83.3 51.6 0.58 0.413 58.3 51.9 0.74 1.08 40.7 47.3 42.6 4.3
CLITSOME, GRANT 0.775 0.58 57.1 49.7 0.66 0.246 72.7 52.8 0.92 1.01 47.6 51.9 9.5 -2.2
STUART, MARK 0.394 0.2 66.7 56.6 0.82 0.407 66.7 50 0.62 0.92 40 46.4 26.7 10.2
PONIKAROVSKY, ALEXEI 0.644 0.64 50 59.1 0.71 0.236 75 49.3 0.53 0.53 50 53.4 0 5.7
WELLWOOD, KYLE 0.785 0.52 60 55 0.67 0.296 69.2 51 0.43 0.85 33.3 53.8 26.7 1.2
BOGOSIAN, ZACH 0.864 0 100 47.6 0.65 0.432 60 52.9 0.67 1.23 35.3 48.5 64.7 -0.9
MONTOYA, AL 0.905 0.3 75 57 0.64 0.356 64.3 50.4 0.69 0.97 41.7 48.3 33.3 8.7
ENSTROM, TOBIAS 0.38 0.76 33.3 48.2 0.75 0.272 73.3 52.4 0.71 1.18 37.5 45.5 -4.2 2.7
JOKINEN, OLLI 0 0 0 48.8 0.8 0.4 66.7 52.3 0.52 1.38 27.6 48.6 0 0.2
REDMOND, ZACH 0.96 0 100 73.1 0.66 0.393 62.5 49 0.23 0.93 20 52.7 80 20.4
LADD, ANDREW 0.965 0 100 60 0.65 0.393 62.5 50.9 1.13 0.94 54.5 48.8 45.5 11.2
LITTLE, BRYAN 1.105 0.55 66.7 57.1 0.64 0.322 66.7 51.2 1.03 0.91 53.1 47.2 13.6 9.9
WRIGHT, JAMES 0 0 0 28.1 0.74 0.371 66.7 53.1 0.42 1.15 26.7 48.6 N/A -20.5
SCHEIFELE, MARK 0 1.08 0 73.1 0.73 0.304 70.6 50.8 1.68 0.84 66.7 37.5 N/A 35.6
TANGRADI, ERIC 0 0 0 40 0.73 0.363 66.7 52.2 0.57 0.57 50 52 N/A -12
WHEELER, BLAKE 0 0 0 46.7 0.73 0.362 66.7 52.1 0.94 1.46 39 47.5 N/A -0.8
SLATER, JIM 0 0 0 38.1 0.72 0.361 66.7 52.3 0.41 0.83 33.3 46.5 N/A -8.4
THORBURN, CHRIS 0 0 0 54.5 0.71 0.354 66.7 51.7 0.17 0.51 25 46.1 N/A 8.4
MEECH, DEREK 0 0 0 0 0.7 0.349 66.7 51.9 2.45 2.45 50 55.6 N/A N/A
PELUSO, ANTHONY 0 0 0 0 0.69 0.346 66.7 51.8 1.7 0.85 66.7 64.3 N/A N/A
MIETTINEN, ANTTI 0 0 0 100 0.69 0.346 66.7 51.6 0.79 1.19 40 48.1 N/A 51.9

What the f*** does this even mean?

GF20: The amount of goals the Jets score per 20 minutes.

GA20: The amount of goals the Jets allow per 20 minutes.

GF%: The percentage of Jets goals relative to total (Jets and opposition) goals scored. Above 50% is good.

CF%: The percentage of Corsi events relative to the total (Jets and opposition) Corsi events.

G%+/-: The difference between GF% with Burmi and GF% without Burmi. Positive is good.

C%+/-: The difference between CF% with Burmi and CF% without Burmi. Positive is good.

Numbers are from stats.hockeyanalysis.com

I recognize these numbers are messy if you aren't use to them, but this is what they say:

Only one Jets player (Tobias Enstrom) is in the minus while playing with Alexander Burmistrov.

Kane, Antropov, Ponikarovsky, Wellwood and Little have scored more goals per minute with Burmi than without him.

16 Jets players have a better Corsi percentage with Burmi than without him.

Only 7 Jets players have a better Corsi % without Burmi (3 of those 7 have played less than 20:00 with him).

Burmi may be difficult to read, but the fact is most of his teammates have better results with him on that without him.

Unrealistic Expectiations:

Alexander Burmistrov is 21 years old. He would have been 20 years old at the start of the season had it started on time. He is still really young. Looking at a player like Evander Kane isn't really a fair comparison. Evander Kane has produced at an elite level for a player his age.

The fact is Alex Burmistrov is still among the top producers from his draft class. Keep this in mind:

Only 21 players from the 2010 draft class have recorded a single NHL point!

Only 8 players from the 2010 draft class have played a full season's worth (82 games) of NHL hockey!

Here is the list of 2010 NHLers that have recorded an point in the NHL:

Round Num. Drafted By Player GP G A Pts PTS/GP
1 1 Edmonton Taylor Hall 148 54 62 116 0.784
1 2 Boston Tyler Seguin 177 48 60 108 0.610
1 3 Florida Erik Gudbranson 89 2 10 12 0.135
1 4 Columbus Ryan Johansen 85 10 18 28 0.329
1 5 NY Islanders Nino Niederreiter 64 2 1 3 0.047
1 6 Tampa Bay Brett Connolly 68 4 11 15 0.221
1 7 Carolina Jeff Skinner 165 60 65 125 0.758
1 8 Atlanta Alexander Burmistrov 175 22 33 55 0.314
1 9 Minnesota Mikael Granlund 19 1 5 6 0.316
1 12 Anaheim Cam Fowler 173 15 56 71 0.410
1 14 St. Louis Jaden Schwartz 29 4 5 9 0.310
1 16 St. Louis Vladimir Tarasenko 17 6 6 12 0.706
1 20 Pittsburgh Beau Bennett 11 1 4 5 0.455
1 28 San Jose Charlie Coyle 13 2 2 4 0.308
1 29 Anaheim Emerson Etem 15 0 5 5 0.333
2 37 Carolina Justin Faulk 89 11 21 32 0.360
2 39 Minnesota Brett Bulmer 9 0 3 3 0.333
2 42 Anaheim Devante Smith-Pelly 54 7 6 13 0.241
2 59 Minnesota Jason Zucker 16 4 3 7 0.438
4 119 Philadelphia Tye McGinn 16 3 2 5 0.313
5 147 Montreal Brendan Gallagher 22 7 8 15 0.682

Burmistrov has recorded .347 points per game over the last season and a half. 10 players from the 2010 draft class are scoring more, but I would wager very few are better at killing penalties. Sure, Burmistrov is not shredding the league, but I have a hard time understanding how he is a disappointment.

Summary

Burmistrov has improved year to year. He has handled tougher match ups every year and is among the Winnipeg Jets best possession players. Burmistrov is among the top 7 Jets in pretty much every relevant stat. That suggests he is currently a 2nd/3rd line tweener and he quite clearly has room to grow.

Does Burmi have an attitude problem? Perhaps, but I don't buy it. His past coaches including IceCaps coach Keith McCambridge lauded his hard work, great attitude and willingness to learn. The term "rink rat" is often used to describe him. McCambridge is very blunt and called out multiple IceCaps publicly this year. I doubt he would have spoke so glowingly of Burmi if there were obvious issues.

Is he the Jets biggest problem? No, far from it. Should he be benched? Sure, if it is going to help him become a better player. Evander Kane spent a little time on the 4th line last year. Blake Wheeler did too. Both players were better for it. Lets hope Alexander Burmistrov takes a similar leap.
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