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Capitals’ Burakovsky set to compete for roster spot

Jul 13, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

Andre Burakovsky Getty Images

When the Washington Capitals selected Andre Burakovsky with the 23rd overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, the Austrian-born forward already had gotten used to playing with men in Sweden’s second-tier league. What he lacked was North American experience.

Burakovsky decided to remedy that by playing for the OHL Erie Otters last season and while he thought his first few games went “really, really bad,” he was able to make the adjustment. In the end, he scored 41 goals and 87 points in 57 games.

“What really separated him was his wrist shot when he was on the rush,” Erie coach Kris Knoblauch said, per NHL.com. “He scored numerous goals just using the defenseman as a screen and shooting it through his legs and beating the goaltender. With his wrist shot that’s certainly something that the other players, as good as they were, couldn’t do.”

Now that he’s used to playing in North America, Burakovsky will head into the Washington Capitals’ training camp with a shot of making the team’s opening game roster, especially with Tom Wilson‘s (leg) availability for the start of the season uncertain. Capitals coach Barry Trotz hasn’t gotten a chance to know Burakovsky yet, but assistant general manager Ross Mahoney is excited to see what Burakovsky can do during training camp.

“Andre’s definitely on the right path,” Mahoney said. “Very, very pleased with his progression.”

  1. gkc3 - Jul 13, 2014 at 2:17 PM

    This kid is going to be a stud. I’d love to see Trotz go with an all-kids second line of Wilson, Kuznetsov, and Burakovsky

  2. ravenscaps48 - Jul 13, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    Star in the making!

  3. jrocknstuff - Jul 13, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    Knowing the Caps, at least the past model of the Caps (under McPhee), I have a feeling it will be more of an either/or deal of Wilson and Burakovsky. They may give Burakovsky a cup of coffee when they break camp, but I think they’ll send him down for some more seasoning once Wilson is 100%. I’d love to see the kid get an extended look, just not so sure of the mindset of the new management.

  4. jb8588 - Jul 13, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    I saw him play twice in Erie last season, and in the first game I saw he was by far the best player on the ice that game…looked a ton better out there than McDavid. I can see him definitely being a lock in the top six for the Caps…I really like his game a lot.

  5. pr0jecktpat - Jul 13, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    I think he will hang around until Wilson is ready to go, but man I’ve heard nothing but great things about this guy. I hope they can find a way to keep him around.

  6. capsnbohs23 - Jul 13, 2014 at 4:23 PM

    He still has to get stronger and put on some weight so he can win battles on the boards and improve defensively which i know he will. His shot is nasty as well. He is close but he should be in Hershey for the majority of the year.

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