Key Stat: 17 of Burakovsky’s 25 points were earned in the second half of the season, as he picked up seven goals and 10 assists in the final 42 games.
The Good: There’s no question that Andre Burakovsky struggled a bit over the course of the 2018-19 season, spending much of it with his name floating around the trade rumor mill. Still, the year wasn’t without its positive notes, particularly in the time leading up to and immediately following the trade deadline. A reunion with Brett Connolly and Lars Eller in early February boosted the offense of all three, and Burakovsky in particular had his best production in February with eight points in 14 games.
Burakovsky rode that (relatively) hot hand into the playoffs, where he was one of the team’s better players over the course of their seven-game series against Carolina. In a series that saw the Caps on the losing side of possession/shot stats the majority of the time, Burakovsky posted the second-best CF% at even strength with a hearty 46.4% (behind only Chandler Stephenson). And while that didn’t exactly translate to the scoresheet - he finished the playoffs with just one goal and one assist - he did pick up another Game 7 tally.
The Bad: Alas, there was unfortunately a lot more on the negative end of the spectrum for Burakovsky than positive in 2018-19. Despite appearing in 20 more games, he put up exactly the same goal and point totals as last year and was virtually invisible through the entire first half of the season. That decrease in offense coincided with - and was likely driven by - weak underlying numbers, an area in which he’d always been relatively strong; he saw his CF% drop off from 52.4% last season to just over 48% this year, and struggled defensively despite being relatively sheltered in a bottom-six role.
Whether it was a lack of decent offers or a belief by the team that he would eventually turn things around, Burakovsky ended up sticking around in DC after the trade deadline and improved slightly from there, but also saw his role decrease even further with the acquisition of Carl Hagelin, averaging just over 10 minutes a game in the final two months of the season. And while he did see a little bit of a boost in his game in early 2019, he wasn’t able to sustain his scoring touch into the postseason - when the team desperately needed secondary scoring and a more even attack overall.
The Discussion: In order for the Caps to qualify Burakovsky this summer, they’ll need to match his current $3.25M salary; would you qualify him, not qualify him but renegotiate a lower contract, or let him walk? Do you see him finding another level to his game still, or is what we’ve seen from Burakovsky what we’re likely to get going forward? If he sticks around, what would it take for you to give him a ‘10’ next season?
Other Burakovsky Season Reviews: Peerless, RMNB
The Vote: Rate Burakovsky below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.
How do you rate Andre Burakovsky’s 2018-19 season?
This poll is closed