EDMONTON, AB - The orchestration of Anton Burdasov's arrival in Alberta's capital on Wednesday has been a task weeks in the making for Oilers General Manager and President of Hockey Operations Ken Holland.
The Russian forward signed a Professional Tryout contract with the Oilers on Wednesday morning after enduring a 24-hour travel day to touch down in Edmonton and take to the ice during Main Camp's afternoon session at Rogers Place.
"He's 28 years of age, he's played in the KHL for a lot of years, and his agent over here Ritch Winter has been talking to me over the course of the summer about Burdasov," Holland said to the media on Wednesday.
"It took us a while to get him the proper paperwork, so he's here. Obviously it's going to be tough. It's the middle of camp, it's a short time, but we'll give him an opportunity."
Video: MAIN CAMP | Ken Holland 09.18.19
The left-shot winger has plied his trade in the KHL for his entire 10-year career, most recently posting 19 goals and 12 assists in 50 games with Ufa Salavat Yulayev in '18-19 and being named a KHL All-Star. But getting the chance to crack an NHL lineup was ultimately the biggest factor in Burdasov taking his opportunity with the Oilers.
"I've watched some video of him and he can definitely score in the KHL," Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett said of his new trialist. "He's an older player that has a dream to give it a try over here, so we'll give him a try and see how he is for the first little bit here to see if we can find a player."
Oilers Main Camp is already well underway with seven days of practice, scrimmages and pre-season games completed, but Tippett's coaching staff will be tasked with bringing Burdasov up to speed in the coming days before ultimately giving the Russian a chance to earn a place in real game action.
"It's going to be a challenge a little bit, but we'll certainly have one of the assistant coaches work with him very close to try and get him up to speed," Tippett said. "He's missed some things here, but he's going to practice today and tomorrow and probably get in that game Friday night, and a couple more games, to see where he's at.
Video: MAIN CAMP | Dave Tippett 09.18.19
Holland and Tippett plan to keep Burdasov's game action contained to give him time to recover from the travel, meaning the forward is more likely to sit out Thursday's pre-season match against the Vancouver Canucks and suit up in the second of back-to-back games on Friday when provincial rivals the Calgary Flames come to town.
"I think Friday, I'm going to talk to Tippett and it depends how he feels, but I would expect Friday," Holland said. "He had 24 hours of travel and it gives him a chance to be fresh. Obviously this time of year he's coming over here trying to earn a contract, so I think giving him an extra day will give him a better chance to show us what he's got."