We all already know that Andre Burakovsky is your favorite Austrian-born, Swedish cinnamon roll, but how exactly did his 2015-16 season on the ice go? Is there possibly one negative thing that can be said about this golden child?
Let’s find out as the 2015-16 player reviews roll on.
|13.0||time on ice per game|
|52.2||5v5 shot-attempt percentage|
|53.1||5v5 goal percentages|
About this visualization: This series of charts made by Micah McCurdy of hockeyviz.com shows various metrics for the player over the course of the 2015-16 season. A short description of each chart:
I might have drawn the easiest job possible when I signed up to review Andre Burakovsky’s 2015-16 campaign. The reason for that being that Burakovsky is already, at the age of 21, not only one of the best players on the Capitals, but one of the best young players in the entire league, so there isn’t much controversy regarding his status as a Caps player. He saw his role under Barry Trotz grow, as he became a mainstay within the top nine forwards and by January the first-choice, second line left wing. The only reason we aren’t looking at a close to 50-point season for Burakovsky is because of Trotz’ inexplicable use of Jason Chimera on the power play throughout the entire year.
After his promotion to full-time, second line left wing on January 2nd, only Evgeny Kuznetsov outpaced Burakovsky when it came to scoring points at even strength for the Caps, their respective totals being 30 and 24. Not only did he excel in this category team-wise, but adjusting for the same date league-wise puts Burakovsky into the top 15 NHL-wide above names like Karlsson, Pavelski, Perry, Panarin, Giroux, Forsberg, etc. Burakovsky’s even strength points per 60 over the length of the entire season was also third on the Caps only behind Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin. The guy is an even-strength production beast, which is going to be the theme throughout this entire review.
With 52.24 percent score-adjusted possession and 0.15 percent relative possession (both according to War-On-Ice), Burakovsky has shown yet again that the Capitals are a better team with him on the ice. He has definitely avoided the “sophomore slump,” if that is something you believe in and should only build off of this year as his role is only likely to increase as the roster changes around him.
Somewhat related to the concept of the “sophomore slump,” among players that were in the 18-20 age range this season, only 5 of them had a higher even strength points per 60 than Burakovsky. You probably recognize the names McDavid, Barkov, Draisaitl, Pastrnak and Duclair. The first 4 of those names played on average, around 2 more minutes 5v5 than Burakovsky and I think it can be argued that all 5 had to play much bigger roles on their respective teams due to lack of forward depth, which the Capitals did not deal with. Burakovsky is one of the least talked about, but best, young “prospects” in the entire league and I think the Caps are very lucky that he dropped to 23rd overall in the 2013 draft.
Burakovsky is going to come into the 2016-17 season with another full year of NHL development under his belt and barring unforeseen, drastic lineup changes, will line up to the left of either Nicklas Backstrom or Evgeny Kuznetsov. Let’s hope that Trotz can find him more ice-time at even strength and that with Chimera’s potential departure, more ice-time on the power play. As the current roster continues to age and times goes on past the prime “Ovechkin era”, Burakovsky is going to be one of the main, central pieces that the Capitals will look to build around, so get used to him. Although, if you can’t get used to a cinnamon roll then I’m not sure your opinion matters anyway.
Do you think that Andre Burakovsky can become an offensive force in the same way that Evgeny Kuznetsov has? Do you agree that Burakovsky needs more ice-time across the board? Which center do you think suits Burakovsky’s play-style better?
Read more: Japers Rink
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