Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2013 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical draft profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Sports is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! For a Complete Listing of all our 2013 Draft Articles Click here.
Edit Drafted 23rd Overall by the Washington Capitals.
Andre Burakovsky is yet another 2013 draft prospect with great athletic bloodlines. His father, Robert Burakovsky had a long career in various European professional leagues and even played 23 games for the Ottawa Senators in the the 1993-94 NHL season. His grandfather Benny Burakovsky was a long time coach and Manager in the European pro ranks, and his uncle Mikael Burkovsky was also a professional player in Sweden and Denmark.
Born in Austria, while his father was playing professionally there, Andre Burakovsky was raised in Sweden, and plays internationally for Sweden. He played for his country at the 2012 and 2013 IIHF Under 18 World Championships, the 2012 Under 17 Whorld Hockey Challenge, the 2013 Five Nations Tounament, and the 2012 Ivan Hlinka tournament.
Born February 9 1995 — Klagenfurt Austria
Height 6.01 — Weight 180 — Shoots Left
Burakovsky is an outstanding skater. He has the top end speed and acceleration to separate himself from opponents. When he hits top speed he can really fly. His edgework and agility are also well developed and combined with excellent stickhandling, this can make him a real dangerous player off the rush. He has the ability to go wide on defenders and cut to the net. He can also pull up and create space to shoot or make a pass to a teammate. In this way he’s highly skilled and highly unpredictable.
Burakovsky is also highly skilled in the offensive zone. I’ve already mentioned his excellent stickhandling, and he couples that with good passing skills and vision to be a real offensive threat. He is poised and patient working the puck on the side boards on the powerplay and looking for opportunities. He also is very good at finding open space and getting himself into good scoring areas when he doesn’t have the puck. Burakovsky’s greatest strength is as a goal scorer. He has a very good one timer, and an outstanding wrist shot and quick release. He also has the ability to drive the net, and the skilled, soft hands to score in tight. In short, he’s what teams look for in a skilled sniper. Burakovsky could stand to improve his work along the boards, and will do so by bulking up and adding more upper body muscle.
In terms of style, Burakovsky is highly skilled and reminds me of Alex Semin. This is a style comparison though, not one based on potential.
On potential. Burakovsky was one of the toughest prospects for me to rank this year. He was great at the Five Nations under 18 tournament, he was also very good in Sweden’s early games at the Under 18, and looked to build on what was a good performance at the 2012 tourney. However when Sweden started facing tougher competition, he seemed to disappear. The games against Canada and the US were extremely disappointing and Burakovsky’s lack of production in the tournament was one reason why Sweden found itself bounced in the Quarterfinals, a result that hasn’t been the norm for the country in recent years. Consistency will be the big question for Burakovsky and he’s a serious boom or bust type pick. If he gets that consistency, he can be a first line NHL winger, but if he doesn’t he may not even make it to the NHL.
Check back tomorrow for our number 26 prospect.
Thanks for reading, as always feel free to leave comments below and follow me on twitter @lastwordBKerr. Give the rest of the hockey department a follow while you’re at it – @BigMick99, @IswearGAA, and @LastWordOnNHL, and follow the site @lastwordonsport.
Interested in writing for LastWordOnSports? If so, check out our “Join Our Team” page to find out how.