Bringing Back Burky: Why the Capitals Should Bring Back Andre Burakovsky Next Season

The Capitals have a number of players’ whose futures must be decided this offseason, with Brett Connolly and Carl Hagelin headlining the group as unrestricted free agents. One player whose future was debated throughout the 2018-19 season is Andre Burakovsky, who struggled throughout the majority of the season with inconsistency and lack of production, before picking up his play at the tail-end of the season. Despite his struggles, however, the 24-year old forward should be back with the Capitals next season. Here’s why.

As a pending Restricted Free Agent, Burakovsky would require a qualifying offer that at minimum, matches his current salary of $3.25 million (plus a minimum escalation of 5%, or $3,412,500) in order for the Caps to retain exclusive negotiating rights with the former first-round pick (23rd overall in 2013). And while some may argue against bringing the embattled Swede back after a 2018-19 season in which he struggled again with inconsistent play and lack of offensive production, Burakovsky’s play at the end of the regular season heading into the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs should be enough to convince Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan to bring Burakovsky back next season, on a one or two-year, prove-it deal.

In his first 36 games played of the 2018-19 season, Burakovsky recorded just nine points (five goals, four assists) with a minus-3 rating, averaging 11:40 of ice time. In his final 40 games played in 2018-19, Burakovsky scored seven goals and added nine assists for 16 points, with a plus-5 rating and a 13.2% shooting percentage. And while he recorded just two points in seven playoff games, the team as a whole outside of a few players struggled to maintain consistency in their first round series loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. But Burakovsky’s pedigree also warrants giving him another chance to prove himself worthy of a long-term deal.

As a former first-round pick, Burakovsy obviously showed that he had the potential to be an impact, game-changing player for an NHL team and throughout his five-year NHL career, Burakovsky has shown flashes of being just that, with his two-goal performance in the Capitals’ Game 7 Eastern Conference Final victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2018 en route to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup victory being a prime example.

No matter his struggles this past season, Burakovsky deserves at least one more chance to find the abilities that not only made him a first-round pick, but have caused the Caps to stick by him through injuries and inconsistencies. While Burakovsy may not be re-signed for the minimum, the Caps should give him one more chance to establish himself as an impact player at the NHL level and a core player for the team going forward. The reward may be even greater than the risk.

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 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, watching WildEarth TV's SafariLive live safaris, and watching animals in his spare time. (Photo by Adam Vingan in 2014 at the Capitals Development Camp).
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5 Responses to Bringing Back Burky: Why the Capitals Should Bring Back Andre Burakovsky Next Season

  1. Anonymous says:

    At a reduced price no doubt I would bring him back, but your not paying him the RFA tag of 3.25mil or whatever for a 12 goal season. Now if he and his agent want to come back at like 2.5mil after he gets non tendered then lets do it. But more then likely Oilers or some team needing scoring in the top 6 will overpay/ get a bargain. They’ll get him at 4mil or so and if hes in the right situation say top line minutes with a great center like McDavid then you’ll see the 30 goal guy everyone expected, but hes not going to produce 25-30 goals for the caps on 10-12minutes a game on the 3L/4L. He needs exposure to top 6 minutes& other elite players to get the best out of his ability

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  2. Richard Bowman says:

    No, absolutely not. I respect your work Michael, but in this case you’re way off. I’ll use your own words against you, from paragraph 4: “…throughout his five-year NHL career, Burakovski has shown flashes…”. FIVE YEARS of one more chances. He’s a favorite off the ice, but he stinks on it. He probably should have had 2 years in the AHL.

    We can’t afford to even consider keeping him. You can’t win The Stanley Cup on five year old potential. If, once V, Conno, and alllll the others are taken care of, and he’s still around, offer $1.2 or so. If he’s not around, or we don’t have $1.2, no great loss. Bad penny.

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  3. Day One Caps Fan says:

    Great Discussion, NovaCapsFans!
    Mr. Burakovsky provokes strong emotions. He ranges from really good to really bad. Performs “highlight reels” followed by invisible-man imitation.
    Looking at 2019 NHL playoffs: Lots of savagely physical play all around, and the strongest have survived. NHL is a hitter’s league, and fancy tactical displays fail against consistent, sustained smash-mouth hockey. Does Andre have that ability?

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  4. btret25 says:

    I’m in the camp of would love to have him back but I don’t think he’ll be back. While he’s only been semi productive, the Caps did not do him any favors by not sending him to Hershey in the first year or 2. He’s just 24 and most wingers are just getting to the big clubs at 24 or 25 and just beginning to make an impact (i.e. Connelly). I think the last portion of the year showed he’s coming into his own. Unfortunately I don’t think the Caps will tender an offer and someone who needs a 2L winger will over pay for him.

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