Several of the Caps have been significantly lagging in production so far this season. On the list of MIA, Andre Burakovsky. In this, a contract year for Burakovsky, he has stagnated in the goal scoring department. What’s the deal and prognosis for number 65?
The season started well for Burakovsky, scoring two goals on opening night in Pittsburgh. Since then, the proverbial well has run dry. Burakovsky has just two goals and eight assists so far, which extrapolates to approximately eight goals and 36 assists for the season.
In comparison, Burakovsky tallied 17 goals and 21 assists for 38 points in 79 games last season. Therefore, Burakovsky is on track for matching last season’s assist tally, but goal production has been cut in half.
In his first two seasons, Burakovsky has been fairly consistent in his shot percentage at an average of 13.65%. So far this season, 5.4%.
Burakovsky is eighth on the team in shots, but his average ice time has dropped to just 14:52 per game, roughly 4th line minutes.
The “Eye Test”
‘Dre is still having difficulty at times along the boards, getting bogged down in the corners and limited to outside play. He needs to find the middle of the ice.
Burakovsky is shooting, he’s just not finding the net, and thus, it could be surmised that the goals will come. Not guaranteed, but likely.
Signs Of Light
Burakovsky had two assists last Week – one against the Buffalo Sabres (Connolly) and one against the St. Louis Blues (Ovechkin) – both secondary assists. As noted, he is now on pace with last season’s assists accrual rate.
Also, as previously noted, Andre is shooting at a similar rate to last season, and it’s likely scoring will fall in line at some point. Not guaranteed, but likely.
Forward line adjustments will likely settle down a bit in the near future (but not completely). The 21-year-old looks to benefit from familiar line mates, and will benefit from time with same-liners.
Burakovsky is currently on the second line with Evgeny Kuznetsov (also struggling) and Jakub Vrana, called up from Hershey on Wednesday. One could argue that this second line not only needs to produce, they have to produce in order for the Capitals to be successful this season.
Lines in practice:
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) December 2, 2016
Considering the aforementioned, it’s too early to sound the alarms on Burakovsky, but the hour is getting late. December will be a telling month for number 65.
By Jon Sorensen