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Winnipeg Jets Top 25 Under 25: #5 Alexander Burmistrov

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Maybe I was stupid for telling you goodbye, maybe I was wrong for trying to pick a fight. I know that I've got issues, but you're pretty messed up too. Either way I found out, I'm nothing without you.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Rank

DOB

Drafted

Pos

Allan

Andy

Philip

Daniel

Ryan

Cara

Ian

Brian

Tim

5

1991/10/21

#8, 2010

F

7

4

5

6

3

5

4

6

5

Previous Rank: 6th

He's back!

After a two-year Russian exile where he scored 64 points in 107 regular season games, Alexander Burmistrov returns in triumph, outlasting his North-South nemesis Claude Noel. Now signed to a two-year deal worth $1.55 million per, the decently okay forward is a sight for sore eyes on a team determined to rely on kids and Anthony Peluso for depth.

We know that Paul Maurice has already given some thought to Burmistrov's role, even remarking that he could specifically help fill the void left by Michael Frolik. As per the Winnipeg Sun: "(Frolik and Burmistrov) are similar in the way they view the game. Whether (Burmistrov) plays in that hole (with Bryan Little and Andrew Ladd), I don't know yet. I've got four combinations on the wall right now that we're playing with."

Indeed, Burmi's versatility has led him to be pencilled in all over imagined line combinations: in every forward position on the 3rd line, as 4th line centre, and as Maurice alluded to above, perhaps even playing wing in the top-six. And according to Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News, he should be better able to physically handle the NHL game wherever he ends up: "Most notably, Burmistrov now looks a lot more physically mature. Maybe it was the home cooking, maybe it’s just the fact he’s now 23 instead of 19, but he looks different." Regardless of where he plays, Burmistrov's soft hands, creativity and two-way puck possession skills should wind up being important assets for the Winnipeg Jets.

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AIH Authors' Thoughts:

Andrew:

The only thing that can be a challenge here is the pressure he puts on Adam Lowry. If Alex plays well, and PoMo gains more and more confidence in him, we could see Burmistrov take over a 3rd line center role, pushing Lowry down to 4th line center, or the LW on the 3rd. Gotta love the versatility he brings to the table.

Brian:

The thing I'm most excited for this upcoming season, is the combination of Adam Lowry and Alex Burmistrov. The potential this duo brings should be the most exciting part of this boring offseason.

Ian:

Left the Jets for two years and put up okay numbers in the KHL while being placed on the fourth line. Bringing him back strengthens the bottom six. If he can push Lowry down to the fourth line it would be a good thing. That's not a knock on Lowry, just having a strong bottom six like that is something we haven't seen yet. Maybe if Maurice lets him play with some skilled wingers instead of moving him around like Noel did he might actually start putting up a significant amount of points.

Ryan:

Burmi is pretty much the only thing that I've found to be a positive out of this summer, as the return of the former 8th overall pick should help somewhat replace what Michael Frolik provided. The fact that Claude Noel is gone is certainly good for Burmi, and hopefully his E-W game can mesh with PoMo's system. Don't sell Burmi short either - Evander scored 30 goals in a season where he spent the bulk of it next to Alex. #burmibest

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Summary:

With things as they are, Burmistrov's return comes at a time where the team will immediately need him to be as good if not better than when he left. With Winnipeg's depth taking a significant hit following the departures of Frolik, Tlusty and Stempniak, Burmi will likely be thrown into the NHL deep end and expected to not only survive but succeed. Luckily, that's one NHL experience Burmistrov is well-versed in.

What do you folks think we should expect from everyone's favourite Russian? What for him would constitute a successful 2015-16? Do you think he still possesses top-six upside, and if so, when do you foresee that becoming a reality? Be sure to share your thoughts and predictions in the Comments section below, and thanks for reading!