After scoring two goals on opening night last season, Andre Burakovsky went the next 26 games without notching a single tally. Then, Barry Trotz scratched him for three straight games in December. In his first game back, he scored. He scored 7 goals and 16 points in the 25 games after he got scratched. Burakovsky got hurt on February 9th and missed 15 games. He finished the season with 1 goal and 5 assists in the last 12 games. In the playoffs, he scored 3 times, including twice in Game 6 against Pittsburgh, and he finished with 6 points in 13 playoff games.
That’s the way Burakovsky’s career has been since he joined the Caps full time in 2014 – inconsistent. He finished the season with 12 goals and 35 points in 64 games. Not bad, but not what he is capable of either. Burakovsky, 22, becomes a restricted free agent on July 1 unless he is signed before then. There’s no doubt the Caps would love to have him back. The question is what his contract will look like.
A restricted free agent, Burakovsky was drafted 22nd overall by the Capitals in the 2013 NHL draft and is expected to be a top six forward next year. He absolutely has the ability to add to the Caps’ offensive firepower, but he will have to be more consistent to fulfill that potential.
Burakovsky is most likely to get a short term deal to prove what he’s worth. Given his performance to date, a 2-year deal in the neighborhood of $2 million a year seems reasonable, particularly given the Caps’ salary cap challenges (note that Evgeny Kuznetsov made $2.2 million this year). The future seems bright for the 22-year old and the Capitals need to hold on to him and see if he can blossom into a true superstar.
By Harrison Brown