Over the last couple of weeks, Nova Caps has previewed the Washington Capitals long offseason ahead. The Capitals have a handful of free agents this summer, and management will have plenty of tough decisions to make.
One of the Capitals top restricted free agents this summer is Andre Burakovsky. Burakovsky is finishing off his 3-year entry level contract he signed in September 2013.
Burakovsky has racked up 196 regular season games under his belt, and has recorded 38 goals and 95 points. In 2016-17, Burakovsky played in 64 games, and put up 12 goals and 35 points. His regular season was shortened after he sustained a hand injury on February 9. Burakovsky missed 15 games due to his hand injury.
Burakovsky is a strong skater with plenty of size and skill. When he gets open looks at the net, he is a precision shooter. Burakovsky is still “raw” in his offensive development, and there is plenty of upside to his game. With his strong skating and good shot, he has the potential to be a 20-30 goal scorer in the NHL.
While Burakovsky is a strong skater with an excellent shot, there are a few flaws in his game. Burakovsky is not the strongest player along the boards, and some might question his willingness to get to the front of the net. Burakovsky did not have the best playoff performance for the Capitals, as he only recorded 3 goals in 13 playoff games.
Elias Lindholm (CAR) ($2.7m cap hit)
Vladislav Namestnikov (TBL) ($1.937m cap hit)
Sven Baertschi (VAN) ($1.85m cap hit)
Tobias Rieder (ARZ) ($2.225m cap hit)
The comparable players listed above were chosen based on similar point production and roles within their respective clubs.
While Burakovsky’s regular season was abbreviated, he nearly matched his point totals from the 2015-16 regular season.
Burakovsky’s game is still very raw, but he still has some tremendous offensive upside. Burakovsky and the Capitals will probably settle on a short-term bridge contract for his next NHL deal.
Both sides will likely agree on a “show-me” deal that could lead to an even bigger contract in the future. It is a safe bet that Burakovsky will re-sign for no more than 3 years, and his next cap hit will fall somewhere in the $1.5m to $3m range. Burakovsky will not be eligible for arbitration, which should give the Capitals more flexibility with this next bridge deal.
As Burakovsky matures and continues to evolve his game, he will likely be given more responsibilities on the ice. Burakovsky will need to show that he can become a top producer on the powerplay, and he will need to show that he can consistently be a dominant player and goal scorer. The little flaws of his game need to be improved, but with added maturity and experience, he should be able to complete his NHL game.
By: George Foussekis