In a surprising turn after today’s Arizona dealings, Craig Morgan of AZ Sports reports from a scrum with GM John Chayka to not expect the Coyotes to retain Alexander Burmistrov. The young center is a restricted free agent, so presumably Morgan means that the team will not extend him a qualifying offer. The Coyotes have acquired both Derek Stepan and Nick Cousins to fill out their center position, though Burmistrov did show off his potential down the stretch last season.
After being selected off waivers from the Winnipeg Jets, Burmistrov scored 14 points in 26 games for the Coyotes and seemed to fit in as well as one could expect. He would unfortunately miss almost a month after a hit from the Bruins’ Colin Miller caused him to have to leave the ice on a stretcher. The eighth-overall pick of the 2010 draft has been a disappointment thus far in his NHL career, reaching a high of 28 points in 2011-12.
Though he played center for much of his time in Arizona, Winnipeg had nearly given up on him at that position. With a career faceoff winning percentage of 42.3%, and a still unrefined defensive game Burmistrov is a risky fit in the middle of the ice. That’s not to say he couldn’t improve, but as he turns 26 this fall it seems unlikely. He still possesses an ability to make highlight reel passes, and shows flashes of game-altering skill, but has never been able to do it on a consistent basis even in a single game. With a clear mandate from ownership to compete this season, the Coyotes can no longer waste time trying to develop failed prospects.