It has been a rather rocky NHL journey for Canucks forward Alexander Burmistrov. After being a first-round pick back in 2010 by Atlanta, expectations were high. However, despite making the NHL while still having junior eligibility, things haven’t gone particularly well. He has bounced around as of late and is in his third organization in less than a year after signing with Vancouver in the summer. Playing time has been inconsistent and the 26-year-old opened up to Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province about his frustration and confusion over his role:
“The frustrating thing is you know you can play at this level and every day and every night you walk into the dressing room and you don’t know if you’re playing or not. You kind of want to know you’re playing or be sure to be confident in yourself and feel like you’re part of the team. “Then you walk into the dressing room and you’re not playing and you’re thinking: ‘What is it going to be like tomorrow?’ I’m trying to work hard but this is hard.”
Through 18 games this season, Burmistrov has a goal and four assists but is averaging a career-low 11:51 per night of ice time. While it was looking like he’d be a candidate to move up in the lineup with Bo Horvat out for the next six weeks, even that appears to be in question now following their recent acquisition of Nic Dowd; it’s unlikely that they parted with an intriguing prospect in Jordan Subban to get someone that they plan to keep as a reserve forward. Center Brandon Sutter is also expected to return next week from an upper-body injury which could push Burmistrov down the depth chart even further.
Burmistrov is making $900K this season and is eligible for restricted free agency with arbitration rights next summer. However, given his small role and inconsistent performance, there likely isn’t much of a trade market for him despite the affordable cap hit. As a result, unless Vancouver decides to waive him down the road, Burmistrov’s situation and role won’t be changing for the better in the near future.