The Rangers have the tenth overall pick in the draft, and while some writers think the Rangers will draft a goalie (for some unknown reason), the Rangers most pressing need at the NHL level is a scorer. In the fifth installment of this series (Nino Niederreiter, Ryan Johansen, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jeff Skinner), we look at a young center playing on the Barrie Colts (OHL), Alex Burmistrov.
The 6’0 170 lb Colts center has put together a solid rookie year in the OHL, putting together a line of 22-43-65 in 62 GP in the regular season. In the playoffs, Burmistrov continued at his point-per-game pace, netting 8 goals and 8 assists in 17 playoff games. The ISS Top 30 currently has the young Russian forward ranked as the #14 skater, but his stock is very quickly rising, as it is becoming more and more evident that Burmistrov is committed to playing in North America, having left the KHL after just one game last year.
Burmistrov is a prototypical play-making center, but adds a nice scoring touch to his game. He has a quick shot that can be deceptive, considering his propensity for dishing the puck. As with most play-making centers, Burmistrov has a very high hockey IQ. His intelligence not only helps him on the offensive side of the puck, but on the defensive side as well. Burmistrov is a solid two-way center who will not be a defensive liability in his own zone.
Despite the fact that he is a small forward, Burmistrov plays bigger than his size. He goes to the dirty areas and is difficult to knock off the puck, for his size. As with most smaller forwards, Burmistrov’s skating ability is off the charts. Despite his size, he finds a way to skate through the opposition while on the offensive. His combination of speed and superb hands make him a great “dangler” (to use an NHL ’10 term), skating through the opposition to dish off the puck to an open teammate.
Like Tarasenko, Burmistrov may see himself slip in the draft because of the lack of a transfer agreement with his KHL team, Ak Bars Kazan. After the OHL season concluded, he was rumored to have returned to Russia to play in the KHL, but it turns out he went back to see his family. Burmistrov has stated it is his dream to play in the NHL, and regardless of the transfer agreement status, Burmistrov is one of the top offensive talents in the draft. The Rangers have no qualms drafting Russians without transfer agreements, and this scenario is no different. It is highly possible that he is still on the board at #10, and the Rangers will be giving him a long, hard look if they stand pat at the draft.
Image Credit: Terry Wilson / OHL Images