In anticipation of the lockout, the Winnipeg Jets assigned 13 players to the AHL’s St. John’s Ice Caps on Saturday. They sent Chris Carrozzi, Ben Chiarot, Patrice Cormier, Jason Gregoire, Carl Klingberg, Julian Melchiori, Eric O’Dell, Will O’Neil, Eddie Pasquale, Zach Redmond, Cody Sol, Ivan Telegin and…Alexander Burmistrov. The Jets also sent Mark Scheifele back to juniors, where he’ll play with the Barrie Colts of the OHL.
None of this is a big surprise as the Jets will want their young players to get more experience in a place where they can keep a close eye. What’s interesting is that Burmistrov agreed to play for St. John’s even though he was weighing KHL options. There were rumors in the spring time that a KHL team was trying to get Burmistrov to come over even though he still has one year left on his entry level contract with Winnipeg.
Burmistrov won’t be affected by waivers because he has only played 150 NHL games, once a player has played 160 games, teams can claim players that have been sent to the minors through waivers.
Why is it good that Burmistrov will be playing in St. John’s and not the KHL? Burmistrov will get a chance to be a first-line player and dominate AHL competition. It’s the ultimate confidence booster, especially for a guy who’s still only 20. In the KHL, veterans usually get the most opportunities and best ice time, while rookies and younger guys take a back seat. Also, the KHL season, which is already five games in for most teams, is much shorter with 54 regular season games. There are 76 games in an AHL season and it starts October 12.
I’ve stated before that this will be an important season in Burmistrov’s development as his contract is up and the Jets will be looking for him to become an impact player. With some more AHL seasoning, he could develop into an electrifying playmaker.