As we do each and every year in the weeks leading up to Capitals training camp, NoVa Caps is preparing key “player previews” for the coming season. This year we kick-off our annual player previews with forward Andre Burakovsky.
2016-2017 SEASON RECAP
2016-2017 was yet another streaky season for Burakovsky. He would start the season with two goals on Opening Night against the defending champs in Pittsburgh, but then go on an extended scoring drought through the remainder of the 2016 calendar year.
Burakovsky’s early season struggles would ultimately result in “healthy scratches” for three consecutive games, starting on December 13th against the Islanders. However, the benching would re-ignite Burakovsky. Andre would score nine goals and register 10 assists in his return, before being injured in mid-February.
Burakovsky suffered a fractured hand injury on February 9th against the Red Wings. The injury would sideline him for five weeks, requiring him to miss 15 games. However, Burakovsky would once again heat up when he returned on March 18.
After all was said and done, Burakovsky would tally 12 goals and total 23 assists in 64 regular season games and three goals and three assists in 13 playoff games.
Burakovsky is entering the 2017-2018 season with a new two-year deal. In an interview this summer, Burakovsky stated he was never concerned about securing a new deal with the Capitals. “Absolutely not. I have had a good dialogue with the heads (Capitals) all the time. They were quite clear that they wanted to extend with me so I was never worried.”
All of Andre Burakovsky’s goals from 2016-2017 season.
2017-2018 SEASON PREVIEW
For the past several seasons, Burakovsky has played the role of the “developing youngster” on the team. With this summer’s exit of veteran players and the potential for several younger prospects to make the team this fall, the time is now for Burakovsky to assume more of a leadership role with the team.
This summer’s player departures will also result in Burakovsky being permanently moved to the second-line, likely teamed with Jakub Vrana and Evgeny Kuznetsov (or Nicklas Backstrom). The player departures will also likely lead to more power play minutes for Burakovsky, so his offensive numbers should increase.
Burakovsky, 22, needs to continue developing his physical play along the boards, manufacturing turnovers and generating scoring opportunities.
More of this:
This particular sequence against the Penguins in the playoffs was an eye opener for Capitals fans. Burakovsky would knock veteran defender Ron Hainsey off the puck in a battle along the boards, then gather the loose puck for a give-and-go with T.J. Oshie, finishing with the goal. Who is this guy? Where has he been?
The call by John Walton:
It’s plays like this that show the real potential of #65. Let’s hope we see a lot more of this in the coming season.
Less of this:
The Capitals will need a full season from “Doctor Dre”. As previously noted, Burakovsky missed 15 games due to injury last season, and three games as the result of a benching. Injuries are more or less out of the players control, but it’s time that “puck luck” and consistent production benefit Bura, and he suits up for 80-plus games this season.
Key Goals for 2017-2018 Season:
Burakovsky (and Kuznetsov) will be expected to fill a significant amount of the production and leadership voids created by this summer’s vetaren departures. The key goals for Burakovsky this season are pretty clear:
- play 80+ games
- strive for a relatively consistent season
- score 20+ goals
- register more than 40 points
- enhance strength of play along the boards
- assume more of a leadership role
- capitalize on additional power play minutes
Capitals’ success this season rides on Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky
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Message Received: Being Benched Has Lit A Fire Under Andre Burakovsky
Andre Burakovsky a “Healthy Scratch” for Tonight’s Game vs. Islanders
The Curious Case of Andre Burakovsky
By Jon Sorensen
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