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Bye-bye Burmistrov!

Here’s some fresh news from the Pacific coast that may not seem important, but does take a name off the “centers available” aisle of the Rumor Mill Market..

Vancouver Canucks center Alexander Burmistrov has retired from the NHL, according to agent Dan Milstein. However, an official announcement regarding his future is expected in the coming days. Burmistrov is just 26 years old, so the news of his retirement is certainly unexpected. Some have speculated that he is simply retiring temporarily so he can play in the Olympics. Remember, the NHL is not permitting its players to play in the Olympics this winter, so this may certainly be the case. Still, right now, there is no official word on why Burmistrov has decided to call it quits.

Not Insiders Verdict:  Burmistrov was drafted during a time where lots of Russian players were coming out of the World Junior Championships looking like world-beaters.  There was a near worriless process to go through to have these players come to North America to chase the Stanley Cup.  Players like Burmistrov, Evgeni Grachev, Alexei Cherepanov (RIP), Nikita Filatov and Alexander Radulov were among that group as well, and on the whole, we can now call the experiment what it was – a bust!  Burmistrov started with the Jets, but also was acquired by the Coyotes for a season setting themselves up with key pieces for their franchise overhaul.

Burmistrov never lived up to a number eight overall pick, and I am sure he got frustrated along the way (not when he left for the KHL, just his overall situation.  He was supposed to be a star, but a lack of consustent effort saw him getting less and less prime time minutes, which eroded his confidence, which lowered his production, which starts the cycle again.

Good luck, Alex!  Have fun at the Olympics! 


Panthers send Demers to Arizona for McGinn

Do the chainsaw!

Training camps are underway, and teams are starting to sort out what they have and what they still need.  Early into preseason, the Florida Panthers and Arizona Coyotes made a deal they hope will help their fate in 2017-18’s quest for the Cup.

The Panthers have sent defenceman Jason Demers to the desert in exchange for left winger Jamie McGinn.

A native of Dorval, Que., the 29-year-old Demers appeared in 81 games for the Panthers a season ago, scoring nine times and adding 19 assists. Demers was heading into the second year of a five-year, $22.5 million deal signed with the Panthers in the summer of 2016. TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reports the Panthers will retain 12.5 per cent of Demers’ salary.

Demers has played in 504 career NHL games over eight seasons with the San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars and Panthers.

McGinn, 29, joins his sixth organization. A veteran of nine NHL seasons, McGinn appeared in 72 games for the Coyotes last year, scoring nine times and adding eight assists.

A native of Fergus, Ont., McGinn has appeared in 522 NHL contests for the Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, Buffalo Sabres, Anaheim Ducks and Coyotes.

He has two years remaining on his current deal.  I really don’t know what the Panthers are doing.  Starting with the unceremonious dumping of Jaromir Jagr, to the odd move of leaving a 30-goal scorer (Marchessault) exposed for the expansion draft, to cleaning house behind the bench and in the front office, to thinking that Jamie McGinn is going to provide more offence than even Demers!  I sincerely hope they are setting up for a major move (Duchene?) or something.

It seems like last season’s high expectations turned into such a let-down that the bar is now being buried in the sand.  

As for Arizona, I believe they won this deal in spades.  Demers isn’t flashy, but he outscored McGinn nine to eight, and that tells me all I need to know.  For some reason, the Panthers are eating 12.5% of the cap hit Demers has, which is a reasonable $4.5 million for another three seasons.  Looking at their depth chart, I’d say he slots in at the four or five position and I believe his salary is in line with players of the same role.


Devils lock up RFA Severson

NEWARK, N.J. — Being a restricted free agent without arbitration rights, defenseman Damon Severson was hoping to get contract from the New Jersey Devils that would carry him over for a couple of years.

The Devils instead gave Severson, 23, a vote of confidence, signing him to a six-year, $25 million contract that will keep him with the team through the 2022-23 season.

“Damon brings an important dimension to our hockey club and he is a young defenseman that we are excited to work with,” general manager Ray Shero said Monday in announcing the deal that gets Severson signed in time for the opening of training camp this week. “This deal shows our ownership’s commitment in what we continue to build here.”

Severson will earn $2.5 million this season and his salary will escalate to $5.1 million in the final year of the contract. He set career highs with 28 assists and 31 points in 80 regular-season games last season, leading all New Jersey defensemen in assists and points.

It is expected that Severson will get a chance to pair with Andy Greene on the Devils’ top defensive unit.


Kelly signed to PTO with Oilers

EDMONTON, Alberta — The Edmonton Oilers signed center Chris Kelly to a professional tryout contract Sunday.

The 36-year-old Kelly had five goals and seven assists in 82 regular-seasons games for Ottawa last season,

Kelly helped Boston win the Stanley Cup in 2011 and has 123 goals and 166 assists in 833 career regular-season games in 13 seasons with the Bruins and Senators. He has 12 goals and 20 assists in 92 playoff games.

Takeaway:  Chris Kelly is a versatile center who won’t hurt you on the ice.  His best offensive days (if he had any) are behind him, and a team needing a defensive forward/penalty-killing specialist would do well to sign him!  I am not sure Edmonton is the best fit, although Kelly can still skate.  The style I saw Edmonton play last season would mean Kelly playing between six and eight minutes per night, depending on penalty trouble.  Prediction:  WILL BE SIGNED BY SOMEONE ELSE

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