Former Atlanta Thrashers top prospect Alexander Burmistrov really tried to make things work in the NHL. He committed to developing in North America with the OHL’s Barrie Colts, put up decent numbers as a young pro with the Thrashers/Jets, and even after a brief stint in the KHL, returned again and worked hard to find a fit in stops with Winnipeg, the Arizona Coyotes, and the Vancouver Canucks over the past two seasons. Burmistrov’s effort was there, but things just didn’t pan out and he returned to the KHL last season. Unlike in the NHL, teams in Russia are excited to have Burmistrov and willing to give him the benefit of the doubt even when his production doesn’t match the hype. Case in point: after returning to Ak Bars Kazan last year, Burmistrov registered six points in ten games, just three points in 17 playoff games, and has just five points in 27 games this year. Yet, Salavat Yulaev Ufa announced yesterday that they had acquired Burmistrov from Ak Bars for a trio of promising young players. The centerpiece is 24-year-old center Vyacheslav Osnovin who, at five points through 32 games, isn’t far off Burmistrov’s scoring pace. 19-year-old defenseman Alexander Lyakhov has been held scoreless in ten KHL games this season, but has the size and skating to make an impact down the road. Saveli Kuvardin, 17, is the final piece; a draft-eligible forward without any KHL experience, but with strong numbers in Russia’s junior ranks. A similar trade of this magnitude would never have been made to acquire Burmistrov in the NHL, but those are the perks of playing in your home country as an established pro. Now Burmistrov can get a fresh start in Ufa and hopefully make the deal worthwhile for his new team.
- Viktor Svedberg was once considered to be a future fixture on the Chicago Blackhawks blue line, but after spending the past two seasons exclusively with the AHL’s Rockford Ice Hogs, he returned to his native Sweden this off-season. That stay didn’t last long, as Svedberg has left the SHL’s Linkoping HC after just seven games to sign with the KHL’s Barys Astana, the league’s entry in Kazakhstan, per a team release. Svedberg is far from a flashy player, but even as a 22-year-old rookie back when he first signed with Chicago in 2013, was a solid stay-at-home defender in the AHL. A reliable presence on the back end, Svedberg should help out Barys, a top ten team in the KHL, in their pursuit of a title.
- Former Buffalo Sabres defenseman Brady Austin was unable to turn his PTO with the AHL’s Stockton Heat into a contract this year, despite accomplishing the same goal on a tryout with the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters before last season. Without an opportunity in North America, Austin has signed on with the Esbjerg Energy of the Metal Ligaen in Denmark, the team announced. A low-level pro league, the Metal Ligaen has attracted very few NHL veterans. Yet, Esbjerg has managed to sign Austin and Brett Bellemore in the past week, boasting a blue line with two experienced North American pros. This would seemingly vault the Energy to one of the favorites to win the league championship this year.