When the Capitals selected Andre Burakovsky in the first round of the 2013 NHL draft, they had high expectations based on his skillset. The 20 year-old Swede is a fast skater with a great pair of mitts and an accurate wrister.
Burakovsky put his skills on display last year in the postseason when he snuck two goals past Henrik Lundqvist in game four of last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Coming into this season, the Caps had big plans for Burakovsky, expecting him to continue to develop into a great young player, but he started off the season a little slow, posting just 10 points through his first 37 games. However, in his past 8 games, he’s posted 10 points.
One of the only positive takeaways from last night’s disappointing 5-2 loss to the Panthers was the play of Burakovsky. From the start, he was firing pucks at the net, getting two decent shots on goal in the first 15 seconds of the game. He snuck one past Al Montoya early in the third period, and ended up with 10 shots on goal, a new career high for high.
While some of his increased production may be due to the fact that he is now playing on the same line as all-star Evgeny Kuznetsov, it really seems as if Burkie is headed in the right direction. He is developing a confidence that was not a part of him earlier this season. Either way, Trotz’s decision to move him up to the second line has definitely worked.
The Swede still has plenty of things he needs to work on in order to become an elite player in the league, such as his play against the boards. Burakovsky needs to increase his strength during the offseason in order to avoid being pinned to the boards.
We all need to remember that he is only 20 years of age, and rather than expecting him to make the right play every time, we should appreciate when he shows signs of improvement and development. Things are definitely heading in the right direction for this young player.
By Gabe Mead