Canucks' Burmistrov is retiring from the NHL

Dec 24 2017, 5:14 pm

Alexander Burmistrov’s time with the Vancouver Canucks has come to an end.


After just 24 games in blue and green, the 26-year-old Russian centre is calling it quits.

Burmistrov’s agent announced on Sunday that his client has retired from the NHL. The key phrase is “from the NHL,” as the disgruntled forward could return to the KHL, where he last played two years ago.

An eighth overall draft pick by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2010, Burmistrov hasn’t been able to fit in with any organization. The Thrashers moved to Winnipeg after his rookie season, with Burmistrov playing just two seasons with the Jets before leaving for the KHL. He returned to the NHL two years later, playing two more unmemorable years with the Jets.

Burmistrov’s career year came in 2011-12 with Winnipeg, scoring 28 points (13-15-28) in 76 games. He appeared to be rejuvenated after he was plucked off waivers by Arizona last year, scoring 14 points in 26 games with the Coyotes down the stretch.

A move to Vancouver seemed to make sense for Burmistrov, as his assistant coach in Arizona, Newell Brown, was hired by the Canucks. Burmistrov signed a one-year, $900,000 contract as a free agent on July 1.

But it hasn’t been a smooth transition.

Burmistrov wasn’t a favourite of head coach Travis Green, who has made him a healthy scratch on numerous occasions. Despite the team’s desperate need for centres after the injuries to Bo Horvat and Brandon Suter, it’s been difficult for Burmistrov to get into the lineup. He has appeared in just 24 of 37 games this season, recording six points (2-4-6). He was benched in his last outing in San Jose, recording just 4:53 of ice time, bringing his season average down to 11:58 per game.

The writing was on the wall on December 8, when Burmistrov expressed his frustration and confusion about his role on the team in the media. Those comments came one day after the Canucks traded for centre Nic Dowd.

To say the Canucks organization has had a rocky history with Russian players would be an understatement.

Pavel Bure left town by demanding a trade. Vladimir Krutov played one year and left the league. Artem Chubarov left for the KHL as a 25-year-old.

Fedor Fedorov was clocked by Kevin Bieksa while with their farm team – a move that pleased the Canucks general manager at the time, Brian Burke.

Nikita Tryamkin picked up and left for the KHL after being upset about his ice time.

Let’s hope Nikolay Goldobin has a different fate.

The Canucks can ill-afford more bad news at this point in the season. Losers of eight of their last nine games, they’re in a free-fall from contention in the Western Conference playoff race. Playing without Horvat, Sutter, Sven Baertschi, and Chris Tanev, they’ll get four full days off over the Christmas break to recharge.

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