In this edition of The Journey, we will look at the fantasy potential of Washington Capitals forward prospect Andre Burakovsky.
The son of former NHL player Robert Burakovsky, Andre is an Austrian-born, Swedish forward for the Washington Capitals. Burakovsky grew up playing in the Malmö Redhawks youth organization in Sweden from a young age. After breaking out in 2011-12 season as a member of the Malmö under-20 team, he appeared firmly on the radar as a potential big talent, with a possible NHL future. Playing for Malmö in the Swedish Allsvensken Burakovsky put up modest numbers struggling with consistency across the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, but shined in International competition, tallying 49 points in 59 games playing for the Swedish U17, U18, and U20 teams.
Tabbed as the sixth international skater in the final Central Scouting rankings going into the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Washington was pleased when Burakovsky was still available to be selected with the 23rd pick of the first round. When the Swedish forward was selected fifth overall in the 2013 CHL Import draft, he crossed the pond for his first season in North America. It was quickly evident how much talent he possessed. Playing with the Erie Otters in the OHL and at times alongside teammate Connor McDavid, Burakovky scored 41 goals and added 46 assists in only 57 regular season games.
After gaining confidence from an incredibly successful OHL campaign, Burakovsky impressed in Capitals camp and won a spot on the opening night roster in 2014-15. The young forward played 53 games in the NHL recording 22 points (9G, 13A) while playing just under 13 minutes per night. Although his rookie season was an overall success, it was not without its ups and downs. Burakovsky was shipped back and forth between the Capitals and the AHL’s Hershey Bears five times throughout the season. With a strong camp this month, he should be able to solidify at least a third line role in Washington for the 2015-16 season. Players usually breakout in their third or fourth season in the NHL, so look for a big jump in production from Burakovsky in the next couple seasons. He and fellow forward prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov should provide stability to the Capitals in the future, even as Alex Ovechkin gets up in years.
From a scouting perspective, Burakovsky is an incredible talent in the offensive zone. At 6’2” and 200 pounds, he is a solidly built player who projects in Washington’s top-six for years to come. It has not been determined yet if Burakovsky’s future lies at center or on the wing, but he will be given every opportunity to find the correct fit. A plus-player who will get ample power-play minutes, the Swede has the potential to one day break the 75-point barrier in the NHL. He will be a valuable fantasy producer on a team that has the talent to contend for the forseeable future.
Fantasy Potential: 75 points
Dobber Prospect Rank: seventh overall prospect in Dobber Hockey’s Top 215
Fantasy Outlook: A-
Pros: Puck Skills, Shot, Offensive creativity
Cons: Physicality, Continued improvement of two-way play
Anticipated NHL Arrival: Burakovsky should spend the majority of the 2015-16 season in the NHL. Camp will be incredibly important to win a spot, likely in the middle six on the wing or at center. He projects as a dynamic top-six forward long term.
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