NO sense wasting any time trying to undo what's been done.

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This article was published 18/9/2011 (3904 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

NO sense wasting any time trying to undo what's been done.

Should Alexander Burmistrov have been playing in the NHL with the Atlanta Thrashers last season?

Alexander Burmistrov is a contender for second-line centre.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Alexander Burmistrov is a contender for second-line centre.

The question was without an easy answer last October in the case of the 19-year-old centre from Kazan, Russia.

Eventually, Atlanta's first-round pick, eighth overall, in the 2010 draft stayed, saw about 13 minutes of ice time per game and produced six goals and 20 points in 74 games as a rookie.

With that, some uncertainty remains but it's the present that more concerns Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff.

"It's hard to say because the young players here, their best years are in front of them," he said Sunday. "At the end of the day, the group of players we have here are very exciting players, players that have tremendous amount of potential and again, we're going to give them the opportunity to grow as their skills allow them to."

The GM conceded he subscribes to the thinking that players can be ruined if rushed.

"Not many players who have played long careers at the NHL level, that (wasn't) a detriment to them that they played in the minor leagues," he said.

Never mind changing what Burmistrov contributed last season. It's what he contributes and where he fits in the forward mix this season that will largely determine how some other chips may fall.

Is he the second-line centre? Some say size might be an issue there and that Nik Antropov might have to be the man going to the middle for that reason.

And how well will centre Kyle Wellwood play for the Jets and how will that change the mix?

Jets head coach Claude Noel sounds like a man ready to consider Burmistrov, who doesn't turn 20 until Oct. 21, for a major role up front.

"I think it's pretty obvious with Alex his skill level comes through," the coach said after two on-ice days of training camp. "He has good speed and I understand he's put on a bit of weight.

"He's a really smart player. Where does he fit into our team? Those things, that will be determined as we go along here."

The crux of the matter for Noel would seem to be this: Is Burmistrov's moderate six-foot-one, 180-pound frame enough of an asset?

"My concern with Alex is going to be handling weight down low, D-zone coverage, that kind of thing," Noel said. "But he played all last season and did a really good job when I watched him. He was a dependable player when I watched him on tape and when I watch him here, he's a smart player, conscientious about team play."

For his part, Burmistrov only looks ahead, too.

"This will be big for me, a move to a hockey town," he said after Sunday's second day of camp. "The fans are great. You could see it already at the practice (Saturday), the crowd. That's great. I can't wait to see what it's like in a game.

"Coaches, trainers, all great guys. I like to work with them and I'm proud to be on the Jets team."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca