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In the midst of a five-game losing skid and with their offense struggling to pick up their play, the Capitals are in arguably their worst stretch of the 2018-19 season. Earlier this season there were reports that teams were inquiring about young forward Andre Burakovsky after the former first-round pick was sat for a number of games by Head Coach Todd Reirden. And while the Capitals did not seem to be inclined to trade the struggling Swede, it appears as though they may be more willing to move him.
Per TSN’s Pierre LeBrun in a story for The Athletic, the Capitals are “certainly listening” to offers on the 23rd overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, who has struggled mightily this season, recording only 11 points (five goals, six assists) in 42 games played this season, averaging a career-low 11:32 of ice time a night, while standing with a minus-5 rating. While injuries over the past few seasons have hampered him, a lack of self-confidence and poor play has resulted in a difficult season for the pending restricted free agent, and has been a healthy scratch several times over the course of 2018-19. Per LeBrun, the Arizona Coyotes, Dallas Stars, Vancouver Canucks, and Colorado Avalanche are among the teams that have contacted Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan. In return, the Caps are seeking a veteran top-nine winger that could help boost the team’s chances of repeating as Stanley Cup champions.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) January 22, 2019
Regardless of whether the Capitals trade the once-promising prospect, his future with the team could come into question this summer. In order for the Capitals to retain eclusive negotiating rights with him, they must extend a qualifying offer of, at minimum, his current salary of $3.25 million, which, given his current rate of production, is arguably too much. At the same time, Burakovsky is still just 23-years old and could be a few small steps or adjustments from regaining the form that once made him the team’s top prospect. Whatever the case, the decision is certainly a tough one.
By Michael Fleetwood