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Burmistrov signs; Cheveldayoff, Jets busy on July 1

by Ryan Dittrick (@ryandittrick) / Winnipeg Jets


WINNIPEG – Burmi’s back.

In the early hours of the NHL’s free agency period, the Winnipeg Jets made a bit of a splash, announcing that restricted free agent forward Alexander Burmistrov is back in the fold on a two-year deal after the spending the previous two seasons with Kazan Ak-Bars of the Kontinental
Hockey League.

Burmistrov had 20 goals and 64 points in 108 KHL games after spending the first three years of his career with the Atlanta Thrashers/Jets. The 23-year-old has 194 NHL games to his credit,
registering 23 goals, 58 points and 83 penalty minutes.

“When we took the team over here, we had extremely high hopes that he would be part of our core moving forward,” General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said.

“He has that opportunity (now) to re-establish himself in the group.”

Preliminary contract discussions began over a year ago when Head Coach Paul Maurice met with Burmistrov overseas at the World Championship.

“At that point in time Burmi still had one more year on his deal, but the groundwork for the future, in some respects, was laid back then,” Cheveldayoff said. “As the winter progressed, there had been some dialogue between his representative and ourselves and as summer started to unfold, it became more and more apparent that there was an opportunity to get a deal that was going to work for
both sides.”

Burmistrov was the eighth pick in the 2010 Draft.

“I don’t think he ever wanted to leave the National Hockey League,” Cheveldayoff said. “What happened in the past happened in the past. We’re two years more mature as an organization and he’s two years more mature as a player.

“I think there will certainly be some growth and some maturity in how he approaches the game from a more well-rounded aspect. He’s coming in not as a rookie. He’s coming in as an established professional hockey player that has a very good pedigree.”

UFAs LOCKED UP

Earlier on in Hour 1 of the signing season, the Jets announced a pair of one-year contracts with two of their remaining five free agents.

Right-winger Matt Halischuk signed a two-way deal worth $750,000, while left-shot defenceman Adam Pardy agreed to terms on a $1 million pact.

Halischuk, 27, appeared in 47 games with the Jets last season, recording eight points (3G, 5A) and six penalty minutes. The Toronto, ON native has played in 250 career games with the Jets, New Jersey Devils and Nashville Predators, collecting 33 goals, 39 assists and 53 penalty minutes.

“It’s exciting,” Halischuk said. “It’s nice to get something done and I’m happy to continue being part of this great organization.”

Like Halischuk, Pardy is entering his third season in Winnipeg. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound product of Bonavista, Newfoundland, played in 55 regular-season and two playoff games with the Jets last season, posting a combined one goal and 10 points, along with 42 penalty minutes.

“This is a place I really wanted to be,” Pardy said. “It’s been a good fit for my game. With the players around, (Head Coach) Paul (Maurice) and the whole organization, it’s a place where my game seems to be effective, so it was real important that I stay here. … If you look at the injuries we had last year, guys had to fill in and play different roles. Even I had to play a couple games at forward. For what we went through last year and to get into the playoffs — it was tough what happened there — but the strides we made, it’s something to be proud of. It’s something that you want to be a part
of.”

Pardy’s lone goal – his first in four years – came in Round 1, Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It was but a taste of what he and the Jets hope to accomplish next year and beyond.

“I made it pretty clear that I wanted to be back because I believe this team can win,” Pardy said.

THE DEPARTED

UFA forward Michael Frolik signed a five-year, $21.5M ($4.3M AAV) contract with the Calgary Flames.

Frolik spent the past two seasons in Winnipeg, posting 42 points in both campaigns after arriving via trade with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Cheveldayoff said that the Jets made a competitive offer, and that the decision ultimately came down to Frolik and his preference moving forward.

“We’re very aggressive in our approach with Michael,” Cheveldayoff said. “Our conversations have been going on for a long time and today he chose to go in that direction for his reasons.

“We wish him all the best. He was a good player for the Jets.”

Later in the day, Eric O’Dell signed a one-year deal with the Ottawa Senators.

NEWLY STAFF-ED

Drew Stafford signed a two-year, $8.7 million ($4.35 million AAV) contract with the Jets Tuesday, less than 24 hours before he was set to become an unrestricted free agent for the second time
in his career.

The decision to remain in Winnipeg was an “easy choice,” Stafford said.

The 29-year-old was acquired along with Tyler Myers, Joel Armia, Brendan Lemieux and a first-round draft choice (Jack Roslovic) from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and Jason Kasdorf back on Feb. 11.

In 30 games with the Jets (regular season and playoffs combined), the Wisconsin native tallied 10 goals, 20 points and eight penalty minutes.

“He’s excited about what we have in front of us,” Cheveldayoff said. “He’s a different type of player than we’ve had within our group. He’s the type of player that can play a Top 6 position and excel at a Top 6 position with skilled players. It was very evident when we was brought into the group, you could see the way he played, the way he thought the game, the way he worked the puck and fought in the corners, it was a different type of player than what we had. He scored some big goals for us, some timely goals — I thought he played really well for us in the playoffs as a forward that had experience and had some leadership qualities. He’s a very good complement to the type of
forwards we have.”

‘FRENZY?’

Cheveldayoff insists that while the hockey world is generally glued to the TV or Twitter on July 1 for a flurry of activity, be it a signing or trade, stability is key – and that the decisions you make today can have harmful consequences years down the road.

“The more stable you are as an organization, the less you have to jump out and react (to),” he said. “Days like today are tough. It’s that sense of excitement that everyone gets all amped up about. … You have to take a step back and make sure. The decision that you make today, it affects you
one, two, three — even five years from now.

“You can’t find yourself in a situation where you can’t execute your plans.”

Today, the Jets did just that.

-- Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com

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