With the Winnipeg Jets getting rid of goalie Jamie Phillips this week by not making him a qualifying offer, it paves the way for Mikhail Berdin to be the backup with the Manitoba Moose next season.
Despite playing the past two seasons in South Dakota, the Jets’ sixth round draft pick from the 2016 NHL Draft is still adjusting to life in North America.
Berdin, 20, grew up in Russia and the Jets prospect is still learning the English language so the young goalie was a little shy in front of the bright lights of the cameras when it came time for interviews.
“I don’t understand nothing right now,” Berdin said. “It’s too hard for me right now.”
With a little coaxing from reporters Berdin answered a few questions as he prepares to make the leap to the Moose next season after playing the last two seasons in the United States Hockey League with the Sioux Falls Stampede.
“I think I’m ready for a step up,” he said. “Yeah I want to play pro.”
Berdin actually started out as a forward but found his calling after his team of seven-year-olds was short staffed.
“I play one year of forward and after I change because my team doesn’t have goalie,” Berdin said.
But he still hasn’t lost his scoring touch. Berdin became Internet famous last season when a video went viral with Berdin scoring into the empty net before celebrating by going into the full Connor McGregor strut.
“I really want to score all my career.” Berdin said. “I have chance for shoot and I shoot. And I love Connor McGregor. He’s the best UFC fighter. I’m in love with him.”
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When development camp is complete, Berdin is heading back to train in Russia to put some of the tools from this week into his daily routine. Things like nutrition and mental preparation but this is the main thing he says he learned this week.
“How to do interview,” Berdin said.
And that will come in handy as he joins the professional ranks.