With the No. 8 overall pick, the Thrashers selected Alexander Burmistrov.
I wanted to get this up, so you folks can talk about it. I will update after talking to GM and selection.
UPDATE: Dudley was really good talking about Burmistrov. Here’s the transcript of our quick phone interview:
“We look for three things in our players – character, intellect or hockey sense and speed. He’s got all three. He probably ranks a nine (out of 10) in all three of those categories. He’s probably the smartest player in the draft. If he’s not the smartest he’s one of the two or three smartest in the draft. He has wonderful skills.”
“He played on an extremely good team in Canada and became a speed guy very quickly there. He took most, if not all, of the defensive zone draws. In any kind of critical game or situation, he was the guy that was out there defensively. He’s also a great offensive player. There is so much to like about this player. We’ve liked him from the start of the year and it went up as the season went along because he got better. Great penalty killer. He’s got all kinds of great grit and character. He’s a kid that was 160 pounds when the season ended and he’s now 175 pounds. He understands where he has to go perfectly. I have to tell you, if he gets to 195 pounds, he could be very, very special. He reminds on a lot of Datsyuk in Detroit and that’s high praise. He’s actually got the kinds of skills that a player like that has and the I.Q. that a player like that has on the ice.”
“We targeted this player from Day One and we had some offers to move down in the draft. We didn’t think where those offers came would guarantee that we would get this player. If we knew for sure if we dropped [Burmistrov would be available], we probably might have done something. But we were not going to go by this player and have someone take him a few picks later. We weren’t going to let that happen.”
“I actually think he will compete for a roster spot. There are two factors. He’s not a big man yet, he’s now 175 he might be 185 by the time training camp rolls around. But the two things are the ability and the hockey sense. I got to believe that when Craig Ramsay watches this kid in training camp, he’s going to be excited. He’s one of those players that you can tell understands what he needs to do immediately. He reads so well with the puck and distributing the puck. He’s a pretty complete player.”
When I asked about his previous comments about wanting to get into the second round on Saturday, he said simply: “I expect we will have a second-round pick tomorrow.”
For those keeping score, at least I am, he was one of the five I said could go to the Thrashers.
Here is the capsule I did on Burmistrov:
Team: Barrie, Ontario Hockey League
Last year’s stats: Scored 22 goals for Barrie. Finished regular season with 65 points (43 assists) in 62 games. Also had 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in 17 playoff games. Represented Russia at the Junior World Championships, scoring four points (three goals, one assist).
Rank: No. 11 among North American skaters by Central Scouting; No. 12 in TSN rankings
Central Scouting report: “He’s like a water spider out there on the ice. Light on his feet, but he’s got a venomous strike like a snake when he goes on the offense. Speed and agility, great fakes and he’ll bring players, fans, alike out of their seats. I’d compare him with a [Alexei] Kovalev, [Sergei] Samsonov or [Maxim] Afinogenov.” — E.J. McGuire