Though it may seem like a decade since Alexander Burmistrov last appeared in the NHL, the 2010 first-round pick is actually less than six years removed from his final game with the Vancouver Canucks, an overtime loss in which he received just nine shifts.
The very last first-round pick the Atlanta Thrashers ever made is still only 31, and has signed another one-year contract in the KHL—inking a deal with Spartak Moscow. It comes after a very poor 2022-23, where Burmistrov scored just five points in 42 games split between Ak Bars Kazan and Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
There was real talent in young Russian when Atlanta picked him in 2010. He had just finished a season with the Barrie Colts, scoring 65 points in 62 games during his first taste of North America. He would immediately jump to the NHL, playing 74 games as a teenaged rookie, scoring six goals and 20 points.
The Thrashers would move to Winnipeg, and Burmistrov looked like a true building block for a while. His 13 goals and 28 points in the 2011-12 season, when he was still just 19, were encouraging signs. The forward core also had young Blake Wheeler, Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, and Mark Scheifele, suggesting better times were ahead.
Unfortunately, things would quickly go off the rails for Burmistrov, who returned to Russia for two seasons in 2013 and could never get his NHL career back on track following that absence.
While he does have a Gagarin Cup and World Championship gold, it has been a rather disappointing career for Burmistrov, individually. He hasn’t crossed 20 points in any season since returning to Russia in 2017, and is a fringe depth player at this point.