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This article was published 23/6/2015 (2119 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Winnipeg Jets have a couple of first-round picks in this Friday’s NHL Draft, but it’s the future of a first rounder from five years ago – Alex Burmistrov -- that could make headlines in Florida this weekend.
Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, as expected, is to continue conversations with Burmistrov’s agent Mike Liut when he arrives in Sunrise, Fla., for the draft after attending general managers' meetings in Las Vegas. And while the Jets-Burmistrov stormy relationship was story a couple of years ago when he left the organization to sign with Ak-Bars Kazan in the KHL, it seems two years apart might have soothed some wounds.
"He’s still a young player," said Cheveldayoff from Vegas. "We’ll see what opportunities present themselves as we continue to have good dialogue."
Asked whether Burmistrov’s NHL future would be in Winnipeg, Cheveldayoff – always close to the vest in negotiating in public – gave an intriguing answer that spoke of how the club’s position may have softened, but also didn’t make any kind of guarantees that the 23-year-old Russian would be in Jets training camp this fall.
"The situations and circumstances from two years ago are dramatically different than what they are today," said Cheveldayoff. "From Burmi’s standpoint he’s two years older, two years more mature. From our standpoint, we’re two years older, two years more mature as a franchise. Obviously, we’re in a situation where Paul Maurice is now the coach, which is different than at that point in time (2013).
"In this game you have to be prepared for a lot of different things. You look around the league and there’s situations like this that happen… you just have to have an open mind and continue to build. Burmi is a young player still, and around the league young players are what teams are coveting. Again, you need to have that growth. In order to take the next steps as franchises, you need to have players in your organization that have not reached their ceiling. That’s where the youth comes in."
Burmistrov was drafted eighth overall by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2010 and was in the NHL that fall. He has 23 goals and 35 assists in 194 NHL games, but spent the last two years in the KHL. He and former Jets coach Claude Noel did not see eye to eye, but Maurice did speak to Burmistrov at last year’s World Championships.
"We’ll see how the talks progress," said Cheveldayoff. "I don’t think anything is out of the realm of possibility… a year ago now Paul Maurice and Burmi did meet and had some very good conversations. But Alex had a two-year contract that he was committed he was fulfilling to term. There’s been some conversations that have happened over the course in time and it’s led to where we’re at right now."
Here’s Cheveldayoff on a couple of other topics:
-- On the status of the club’s pending unrestricted free agents, including Michael Frolik, Drew Stafford, Lee Stempniak, Jim Slater, Jiri Tlusty and others:
"We’re working hard at it. Good and open dialogue with many of the UFAs. It’s inevitable that we will not have all of them back. Would we like to bring some of them back? Certainly we’ve been open about that. But (free agency) is a period of time the players have earned the right to go to and we’ll see how it plays out."
-- On the NHL’s 2015-16 salary cap, set Tuesday with an upper limit of $71.4 million:
"I haven’t had a chance to talk to a lot of counterparts here but I will at the meetings. But I think everyone’s happy that they got the number today because the earlier you can get that number and have some certainty on how you can move forward, it is important.
"We’re all dealing with trying to sign RFAs or UFAs and not having a solid number in front of you makes things a little bit difficult, difficult from a signing standpoint and difficult from a player agreeing standpoint. Everyone wants to know what might be available out there for him. We’re entering another unique part of the CBA where you have an interview period which starts on Thursday (where teams can ‘court’ prospective free agents in advance ot the market opening on July 1st). That’s a different phenomenon that we’re all learning the ins and outs from that standpoint. I guess once all things come into play and now you know your number, you can really start making your final plans for how you can move forward."