By Ian Oland
Former Capital Andre Burakovsky signed a one-year, $3.25 million contract earlier this week with his new team, the Colorado Avalanche.
The Swedish forward, who asked to be dealt from Washington before last season’s trade deadline, is hoping that a change of scenery will jumpstart his career. And there’s one analyst who definitely believes that’s going to happen.
NHL Network’s Mike Johnson recently made the case why on NHL Tonight.
"I would expect for him to get a minimum of 20 goals, 40+ points and really be a solid depth contributor."@mike_p_johnson on @andreburakovsky. @Avalanche pic.twitter.com/XHQQEjMbg0
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) July 17, 2019
“He’s going to play in the top-six,” Johnson said. “He’s probably going to play with the newly-acquired Nazem Kadri as well as Donskoi, a new player, on an entirely revamped second line possibly in Colorado. But given that kind of ice time, given more power play, a little bit of age, maturity, confidence, I would expect him to get a minimum of 20 goals, 40-plus points, and really be a solid depth contributor because he’s just too good, too much physical talent, skating, passing the puck, shooting, to not put up better numbers than the 12.
“And the other part about it: Colorado is one of the strongest teams off the rush,” Johnson added. “They like to create off the rush, not dump it in, slow it down. Burakovsky’s best asset: skating off the rush. Hopefully, it should be a good matchup that way for him to better the production that he showed the last two years in Washington.”
Since the 2015-16 season, when Burakovsky scored a career-high 17 goals and 38 points, the former first-round pick has seen his numbers drop and his role diminished in the NHL. Burakovsky scored 12 goals in three consecutive seasons and saw his point total drop from 35 to 25. Last year, Dre received a career worse 11:08 average ice time.
Another concern is Burakovsky’s durability and health moving forward. Peter detailed this in Burakovsky’s season review on RMNB.
Way back a million years ago, Burakovsky was a future top-liner, whose talent for creating lots of offense had him projected to be a big goal-scorer. Then he broke his right hand in February 2017, then his left hand in October 2017, then he suffered an unspecified upper-body in April 2018. Everything cratered. Although Burakovsky enjoyed a late-season surge (five goals after the deadline), he’s still not back to where he was or close to where he should be.
The 2019-20 season could be a make-or-break year for the 24-year-old Swede. Burakovsky will have more opportunity, more minutes, better teammates, and a role more suited for playing style.
Do you you think he’ll break the 20-goal and 40-point plateaus for the first time in his career?
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