Teams around the NHL are always looking to find a player for free. Maybe he was overlooked coming out of junior because of his height, or he wasn’t given an offensive opportunity at his smaller NCAA program, but anywhere they can find excess value—or even just a chance of it—teams are ready to pounce. The KHL is one of those locations and teams are continuously scouring the depth charts of Russian teams to find someone who could contribute at the NHL level. He doesn’t need to be the next Artemi Panarin, but if he can play at all there will be a team with interest.
That’s the case for Anton Burdasov, whose name was brought up today by Igor Eronko of Sport-Express and is apparently talking to three teams in the NHL. Eronko believes one of them is Edmonton, but doesn’t give any indication of the others. A report out of Russia earlier this year also linked him the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers. Burdasov indicated almost a year ago that he would be interested in heading to the NHL once his contract in Russia expired, and now that it has it seems as though he’s ready to follow through on his word.
Burdasov, 28, represents an interesting case. He’s played in the KHL for a decade now, but before last season had never scored more than 17 goals in a single season. In fact, his 89 goals and 176 points in 386 regular season games isn’t all that impressive when compared to some of the other Russian players who have tried and failed to make an impact at the NHL level. Burdasov is mostly known for his hard wrist shot—something Eronko points out would fit well with the Oilers’ playmakers—and has history playing with top players like Panarin, Ilya Kovalchuk and Nikita Gusev. He was even teammates with Vladimir Tarasenko for a season before the St. Louis Blues star came to the NHL.
If Burdasov does intend on coming to the NHL, he certainly put up an interesting season for scouts. Not only did he record the most goals of his career with 19, but he also led all KHL players with 114 penalty minutes. Just like with any player who hasn’t suited up in the NHL there’s no way of knowing if he’ll make an impact, but it seems as though someone is about to give him a shot.