Colorado Avalanche winger Andre Burakovsky has found the right fit here with the team. He’s excelling with the chances he’s been given.
The Colorado Avalanche made a trade with the Washington Capitals over the summer that at first I thought was an overpayment. Colorado sent over a second and third round draft pick in next summer’s draft and pending UFA Scott Kosmachuk for restricted free agent Andre Burakovsky.
That seemed an awful lot for a reclamation project.
Well, I can see why the Avalanche wanted the 24 year old. He’s a speedy skater with a sniper’s shot. But the party line was that he was never getting enough chances to make good on those gifts.
More from Mile High Sticking
- Could Colorado Avalanche move on from Pavel Francouz next offseason?
- 4 goalies to replace Pavel Francouz if he has to miss time
- Colorado Avalanche make sneaky signing with Tatar
- Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog could return in 2023-24 playoffs
- Colorado Avalanche rookie face-off tournament roster
He’s gotten his chances here in Colorado, and the new Av has capitalized on them. He’s third on the team for scoring with 10 goals and 8 assists (18 points) in 21 games.
His career high was 38 points (17 goals, 21 assists) four seasons ago. He’s almost halfway there at the quarter-season mark.
What’s more, we’re seeing that skating and that skill in play. With injuries to our top two wingers, he’s getting to skate on the top line with superstar Nathan MacKinnon. And the two are gelling well. So well, that some of the Altitude TV announcers are talking about splitting up the top line when Mikko Rantanen and/or Gabriel Landeskog get healthy.
How well is Burakovsky vibing with MacKinnon? Well, the Avalanche just completed the Western Canada portion of their road trip. In the last three games, he’s recorded five goals and an assist and has recorded three straight multi-point games. The two are clicking.
It’s not hard to see why. Nathan MacKinnon is one of the fastest skaters in the NHL, and he’s got a magician’s box of tricks to score. Burakovsky is just fast enough to keep up with MacKinnon, and his shot is elite enough that our superstar trusts him with the puck.
Here’s an example of that dynamic in play. Our superstud rookie, Cale Makar, gets the puck to MacKinnon, who stick handles into the Calgary zone. Naturally, he’s drawn three Flames defenders onto himself, and at least one of those guys is also keeping an eye on Makar.
So here comes Burakovsky all alone, and MacKinnon isn’t afraid to toss him the puck:
Because MacKinnon knows Burakovsky has the skill set to put the puck so top shelf that Altitude announcer Mark Rycroft quipped it was still under construction.
Here’s another example of MacKinnon trusting Burakovsky, and Andre making good on that trust:
What’s more, Andre Burakovsky fits in with the personality of the team. The Colorado Avalanche are a tight group of players, but ones who take nothing but the game of hockey seriously. (And their families, I presume.)
Burakovsky was always know as the goofball on the Capitals. That team is a lot more serious-minded off the ice. Here in Colorado, Burakovsky has become just one of many eccentrics on the team.
Additionally, he’s endeared himself to the social media team. And our social media team is so gifted at providing content, that they’ll take a player like Burakovsky, who’s willing to ham it up for the camera, and turn him into a social media star.
Here’s some of his Twitter content:
A little love on Instagram:
That last photo is from the Mile High Dreams Gala, where Burakovsky was the guest reporter:
That video should make clear how well he fits in with our motley crew of incredibly talented hockey winners. (13-6-2, baby, and in second place in the Central, at the time of writing.)
In other words, Andre Burakovsky has found his hockey home.
The Swede will always have close ties with the Capitals. He won a Stanley Cup there, and he has players like Tom Wilson with whom he’s so tight they’re like brothers.
However, he and the Colorado Avalanche are a good fit. He’s on a one-year show-me contract, and he’s absolutely showing us that he’s in the right place for both us and him.