Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Andre Burakovsky: The Center of Attention

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Andre Burakovsky has been turning a lot of heads in Washington as of late. Not only did he once again impress during development camp, he did while playing a position that he admitted he is not familiar with: center. Burakovsky has almost exclusively played hockey as a wing, not a center, so it’s very interesting that the Washington Capitals had him as a center in development camp. That would explain why he was there in the first place (anyone who has seen Burakovsky play would probably agree he didn’t need another development camp). If this move to center is permanent, that has several ramifications.

First of all, if Andre Burakovsky is going to be a center, I think that all but kills the notion that Andre Burakovsky is breaking camp with the

“While where Burakovsky plays might be up in the air for now, one thing is for certain: wherever Andre Burakovsky plays, he’s sure to be the center of attention.”
 Washington Capitals unless it’s on a short “tryout” similar to what the Capitals planned to do with Connor Carrick. Burakovsky needs more experience at center before he’s ready to play center at the NHL level. He already has the hockey IQ, playmaking ability, speed, and quickness necessary to be a center. However, there are still two important things that he must work on: positioning and faceoffs. He’s spent his entire life as a wing, so he’s not used to the positioning required to be a center. He can work on those things in Hershey, where he can improve in those two areas without hurting the Capitals.

Secondly, I think a move to center is a great thing for Andre Burakovsky. He could solve the eternal problem that the Washington Capitals have had: finding a second line center. Burakovsky is an extremely gifted player. His talent has always shined the brightest in the open ice, when he can out maneuver anybody and show off his creativity. If his offensive game has a weakness, he’s not particularly strong and is relatively ineffective around the boards. That’s not ideal for a wing, but that’s not important for a center. As a center, Andre Burakovsky would be doing a majority of his work in the open ice, where his skills are clearly best suited.

Thirdly, I think this move shows that the Washington Capitals might not be as committed to the idea of Evgeny Kuznetsov being a center as I thought that they were. They could be having Andre Burakovsky get time at center in case Kuznetsov and Marcus Johansson do not pan out as the second line center this year. It will be very interesting to see how that plays out.

Andre Burakovsky is smart enough, skilled enough, and driven enough to make the switch to center with relative ease. If it doesn’t work out, oh well, he’s still an extremely good wing. While where Burakovsky plays might be up in the air for now, one thing is for certain: wherever Andre Burakovsky plays, he’s sure to be the center of attention.

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Tags: Andre Burakovsky Evgeny Kuznetsov Marcus Johansson NHL Washington Capitals