Player: Andre Burakowsky
Drafted By: Washington Capitals (23rd overall)
Position: Left Wing
Final Central Scout Ranking: No. 6 European skater
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 176 lbs
DOB: February 9, 1995 (18 years old)
Most Recent Affiliation: SEL, Malmo Redhawks
Son of Robert Burakowsky, who was drafted No. 215 overall by the New York Rangers in 1985 and played 23 games with the Ottawa Senators during the 1993-94 season, Andre is more talented and will likely have a longer tenure in the National Hockey League than his father.
The younger Burakowsky saw great improvement in his game last year. In his first year with the Malmo Redhawks of the Elitserien, or the Swedish Elite League, he only had one assist in 10 games, but he mustered four goals and 11 points in 43 contests last season.
His offensive numbers will have to improve, but Burakowsky’s heavy shot and hard work without the puck should help him build off of a strong second year in the SEL.
Full Scouting Report
Burakowsky wants to have the puck and will skate aggressively in the neutral zone in order to open himself up for a pass. He is also a strong skater who is creative with the puck and has a heavy, accurate shot to compliment his skill set.
“André is very creative player with a strong wrist shot who loves scoring goals,” reads his talent analysis on HockeysFuture.com. “He is extremely good at picking corners and putting shots in under the crossbar.”
He must work on his defense and take a more direct route to the net, but that will come as he grows older and adds more weight to his body.
“May need to develop a more north-south game in order to be successful,” continues the report on HockeysFuture.com.
“Is used to playing with older, stronger players and has made the adjustments necessary to do so, but this has led him to having to play a more perimeter-style game since heading into traffic wasn’t necessarily the best option for him with his 17 year old’s body.”
His work ethic is impeccable, writes Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus, and the Swede has a bit of an axe to grind as well.
“The extra element of his game is his grit,” reports Pronman, “and one NHL source described his work ethic as equal to his skill level. He has the ability to impact the possession game with his skill and smarts, and he has a knack for pressuring the puck away from opponents.”
NHL Player Comparison
Jeff Skinner of the Carolina Hurricanes. Both players have a lot of skill and creativity and are willing to get to the net, but they also have a nasty side to them as well.
It all rests on if he improves defensively and whether or not Burakowsky wants to take the most direct path the net. A lot of that depends on how soon he grows into his body. He cannot be a liability on the ice and must find a way to fire off his shot in the offensive end. Don't expect to see him in the NHL until the 2014-15 season.
At his best, Burakowsky will be a top-line forward that brings a nasty shot, strong play away from the puck and a dose of grit onto the ice every time he gets a shift. He has the ability to be a cornerstone player on a good team but could also shy away from play in the middle and never develop defensively, severely handicapping his ability to get ice time at the game’s highest level. He could be up as soon as 2014-15, but might need an additional year to round out his game.