A Solution Needs to Be Found for the Struggle That is Andre Burakovsky’s Season

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After losing a number of key forwards such as Justin Williams, Daniel Winnik, and Marcus Johansson to free agency and a trade, respectively, the Capitals looked to the continued development of fourth-year forward Andre Burakovsky as one of the possible possible players to fill the void the aforementioned players left, particularly Williams and Johansson. To say Burakovsky has struggled would be an understatement.

While Burakovsky did miss time due to a fractured hand, his performance in the games he has played has been wildly inconsistent, and it has led to the former first-round pick being scratched from the lineup by Head Coach Barry Trotz multiple times this season, and per NBC Washington’s Tarik El-Bashir, Burakovsky was not taking rushes with any of the four lines at practice this morning, a sign he could very well be sitting out the Caps’ game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, after he was benched in the final period of the first game of a home-and-home tilt on Tuesday. Burakovsky played just 6:34 minutes in that game, and his last shift came in the final 2:11 of the SECOND period, per NBC Sports Washington’s JJ Regan.

Many believed the 2017-18 season would be the one in which Burakovsky experienced a breakout campaign; instead, the soon-to-be 23-year old Swede (February 9) has just four goals and seven assists in 28 games played this season, with a minus-6 rating. He is averaging a career-high 13:48 of ice time a night, which is 38 seconds higher than his career average.  In addition to his lack of consistency offensively, Burakovsky has turned the puck over 18 times this season and as one might expect, his struggles have taken a toll on the confidence of the young winger, something Burakovsky admitted himself. Despite being placed all over Trotz’ lineup, Burakovsky has yet to find some consistency and something needs to be done to solve it. The question is what?

For starters, Burakovsky must get more of his shots through to the opposition’s net, as less than half of his shots are getting through to the opposing netminder at even-strength (44.7%) and he is averaging only 1.4 points per 60 minutes at even-strength. Furthermore, the Capitals are allowing 2.6 goals against per 60 minutes when Burakovsky is on the ice, indicating a need fir Burakovsky to become more committed defensively. Burakovsky is averaging only 6.5 shots per 60 minutes at even-strength, compared to 7.8 and 7.5 in the last two seasons, respectively.

Whatever the problem is, it is one that the Capitals and Burakovsky himself must find an answer to. The Capitals expect Burakovsky to be a part of the team’s long-term future and in order for that to happen, he must prove himself capable of being able to produce consistently and effectively. Burakovsky’s season to date has been a problem. Now both team and player must find a successful solution.

By Michael Fleetwood

 

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first and only Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. His favorite player became former Capital Nate Schmidt after he met Schmidt in a Hershey hotel while in Hershey PA to see the Bears play, shortly after Schmidt was injured during a conditioning stint. Michael is also a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Orioles, and enjoys photography and reading in his spare time. (Photo by Adam Vingan in 2014 at the Capitals Development Camp).
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7 Responses to A Solution Needs to Be Found for the Struggle That is Andre Burakovsky’s Season

  1. DayOne Caps Fanatic says:

    Andre is a Bust. Include Andre (a very nice fellow) in a Trade (soon!) for a big-time veteran Defenseman. Give some other young Bucks a chance to shine as a Caps’ forward

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Harrison Brown says:

    It’s time to trade him. I say for defensive depth.

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  4. I knew in my bones that it would come to this. Burakovsky plays like someone who’s afraid of his coach…afraid of making a mistake and, derivatively, getting DNPCD’d. That’s a problem that has a tendency to multiply itself with the player in question making more mistakes, which leads to more benchings and with it, a corresponding loss of confidence…

    Personally I think this kid has too much (scoring) talent to be considered a bust. I think that from the very beginning he and Trotz got off to a bad start which saw Barry try to transform him into a center when he first came up which Burakovsky clearly wasn’t…He’s a natural winger with soft hands. Then there was the constant shuttle between the parent club and Hershey which Trotz admitted hurt Andre and confused him when he just should have been kept down there until the consistency, grit or whatever was missing in his game got straightened out.

    My feeling is that Burakovsky needs to play more–not less, and that once he gains confidence he’ll have more and more epiphanal moments which, taken together will help him mature into the kind of offensive player his talents suggest he can be. If not, the Caps will probably package him in a trade to another team who will, I’ll bet, give him an opportunity to play regularly with a pair of line mates who he’ll develop enough chemistry with to blossom into a 30 goal scorer, and then the Caps will be able to say that they had TWO youngsters (Filip Forsberg being the other one in recent memory) who went to another teams and flourished in a system that allowed them to realize their talent more fully.

    As for Burakovsky being traded for defensive depth which will, presumably, launch us past Pittsburgh and out of the second round to a Stanly Cup, who are you kidding?? This team needs the kind of players who don’t have to be told and told and told and told and told over and over and over and over and over again year after year to play desperate for the entire 60 minutes of a contest….to move their feet and QUIT TRYING TO SIT ON ONE GOAL LEADS AGAINST GOOD CLUBS ON THE ROAD!!! And in the rare games when they do that they have to have the mindset to pay the price and do it again and again, game after game until it’s second nature and part of their team culture.

    The truth is that this team just doesn’t have enough players like that. Accordingly, adding a solid defenseman to this bunch will NOT result in Lord Stanley’s cup being hoisted this year or any other for the reasons I just mentioned–not even if they happen to get Brad Park, Scott Stevens or Rob Blake during their primes…When Ovie, Oshie and Kuznetsov don’t score this team struggles. Moreover, the Teacher’s Pet–Niklas Backstrom–never gets called out vocally for a lack of production even though there are many, many games when I don’t even know he’s on the ice…You can’t have that from someone you refer to as a star whether it’s him, Ovechkin (who DOES get criticized for various mistakes he makes) or anyone else Trotz looks to to get things done come playoff time. And Holtby lets goals in that someone of his caliber and mobility shouldn’t, frankly…

    I could say more, and hope I’m dead wrong–but having watched this team going back to the run-and-gun years under Bruce Boudreau and GMGM, I doubt it…

    End,

    Clifford
    Sta. Monica

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