Team: Malmo (Sweden)
Height/Weight: 6'1", 177 lbs.
With Andre Burakovsky, the Caps went with a player who looks to be a natural goal scorer. Burakovsky is the type of player who commands the puck and wants the puck on his stick. He is a very strong skater and is rather intelligent as far as his on-ice game is concerned.
In my mock draft, I suggested that the Caps select Valentin Zykov with the 23rd pick primarily because I liked the size Valentin would have provided to a Caps team that I just feel is not going to be physical enough to compete with their new divisional rivals.
While Burakovsky is tremendously talented—and a better skater than Zykov—my concern with him is that he is just not going to be big enough to stand up to the defensive pressure teams such as the Penguins, Rangers, Devils, Islanders and Flyers will throw at him on a frequent basis.
If you read the scouting report on Burakovsky at draftsite.com, you will get a good feel for what he is all about. He is a great skater, has elite speed and acceleration and is not afraid to take the pounding even though he is not the most physical guy in the world.
A big issue—and one that Burakovsky will absolutely have to work on—is his tendency to be too selfish with the puck. The scouting report on Burakovsky at draftsite.com, as well as the video profile included with the slide, both reference that he can be selfish and, perhaps, a bit too confident in his own abilities.
It is great to have confidence in one's own talent. No matter how talented a player is, however, he has to be smart enough to know how to distribute the puck. That is my main concern with Burakovsky.
I am rather torn on this pick by the Caps. I love the way Burakovsky skates, and he does bear some similarities to Viktor Stalberg. He is a goal scorer and a sniper.
The problem is, however, that in making this pick the Caps have sent a message that they intend on being the same old Capitals: They will continue to try to win games the way they did when they dominated the Southeast Division—by being a finesse-first team content on outgunning the opposition.
I do not think that style of play will yield success for the Caps any longer, and in selecting Burakovsky, the Caps are trying to maintain the status quo as opposed to making a concerted effort to move forward.