Washington Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky’s name has been thrown around a lot during trade talks of late. Does making a move for him make sense for the San Jose Sharks?
The San Jose Sharks are looking to upgrade before the trade deadline ends on February 25th. Sharks General Manager has kept things close to his vest when it comes to who Team Teal is targeting. But with more and more names popping up in the trade deadline rumor-mill it’s tough not to speculate about potential scenarios.
One name that’s been thrown around quite a bit in the previous weeks is Washington Capitals winger Andre Burakovsky. The Caps have not been discrete with their disappointment in the soon to be 24 year old who’s on the final year of his RFA deal worth 3 million AAV this season, per CapFriendly.
Many beat writers who cover the team have written articles on the matter, and today Chris Kuc who covers the Caps for The Athletic. noted on Twitter that Washington Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan has been heavily shopping players like Burakovsky .
Coming off his Stanley Cup winning season, Burakovsky has sputtered with his points per game percentage plummeting from 0.45% through 56 games to 0.26% in his 46 games played this season, per Hockey-Reference. The underlying numbers surrounding Burakovsky this convey that he is a player struggling mightily. But has he really been giving a fair shake?
Overall the Austrian skater has posted 12 points 6 goals and 6 assists. The team’s averaging a 49% CF% and a 48% FF% when he is on the ice, per naturalstattrick. His ZSR is 48.65 according to Corsica.Hockey, which means he’s deployed relatively evenly in both zones by Caps coach Todd Reirden. His lack of production is concerning but has he been put in a position to succeed?
Burakovsky has spent a lot of time on the bottom line this season and at times relegated to press box duties. His role on the team has shifted over the course of the season until completely falling out of favor with the organization’s brass in the recent weeks. The team is definitely shopping him and apparently are seeking a “hockey trade”. However his usage of late exhibits that he could possibly be had for cheap.
Even though this year he’s been designated to a bottom six role his underlying numbers illustrate that when he’s around good players he can thrive. According to Corsica.Hockey he spent 25 games with line mates consisting of Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie during the 2017 – 2018 season. They posted solid CF, SF, and FF percentages along with a 3.13 Goals per 60 minutes. So he has exhibited that he has the ability to raise his play to match talented players around him.
Trading for Burakovsky would be a gamble on the San Jose Sharks part if that is a route that they consider taking. It could be at the expense of some decent draft picks, prospects, or a depth defensemen like Tim Heed. However Burakovsky is still a young player and has shown that he can be a complementary piece in a top six-like role.
Maybe a change of scenery can alter the trajectory of Burakovsky’s career. His career high is 38 points while spending some time on a few impressive Capitals rosters. However they are traditionally a top heavy roster, with limited opportunities for significant ice time. The San Jose Sharks like to spread the wealth around and focus more on exploiting match ups. It’s not difficult to imagine someone with Burakovsky’s skating ability and shooting prowess on the third line with Jumbo Joe Thornton.
Andre Burakovsky is not the perfect fit for the San Jose Sharks, and should not be the only move General Manager Doug Wilson makes at the trade deadline. But a gamble on Burakovsky has the chance of paying off huge if he can find his footing in the Bay Area.