It’s been a rollercoaster contract season for Andre Burakovsky, who has survived a prolonged benching, a trade deadline during which his name was liberally bandied as a potential mover on the Caps’ roster, and the arrival of Carl Hagelin into the forward ranks, which has presently knocked Burakovsky down to the fourth line. But despite the seemingly constant tumult and the reduced ice time, Burakovsky is amidst one of the finer stretches of his season, with goals in three of his last four games and points in seven of his last ten.
So what, exactly, has been going on with Burkie? It’s always worthwhile to understand what’s going on with possession numbers when we see a production uptick.
As you can see above, after the typical early season percentage volatility, Burakovsky’s baseline possession numbers leveled out in the 48% range. He’s currently below that mark, and has made incremental progress on a by game basis during this stretch. But there’s nothing here that indicates real change.
However, there are some other areas we can peek at, such as scoring chances, and clicking down even further, high danger scoring chances.
There’s not much that pops here either. In fact, Burakovsky’s high danger scoring chance share is diverging somewhat from his higher level share metrics.
So what gives? Is it just that luck is suddenly bending in Burakovsky’s favor? Not exactly. Burkie is currently enjoying a stretch where he’s hitting the net on more than 80% of his shot attempts. To put it mildly, that’s exhibiting a level of accuracy that is unsustainable for shooters who generate any real volume at all, but it’s not the first time this year Andre’s hit that mark over a span of five games.
Here’s a picture of inconsistency that we might find more representative of Burakovsky’s reputation, if nothing else. Burakovsky has seen five-game spans where he’s hit the net under 40% of the time, five-game spans where he’s hit the net more than 80% of the time, and everything in between. It’s difficult to say whether this is the reason for his increased production, though it almost certainly contributes to it, and it definitely doesn’t hurt. One thing is inarguable though, and that’s that if the Caps can roll out an accurate Burakovsky in their bottom six, and if Burakovsky’s accuracy has anywhere near the relationship with his production as has been recently in evidence, the Caps’ forward ranks are deeper than we thought.