Andre Burakovsky

Quick Links

Brian MacLellan is still confident in Andre Burakovsky

usatsi_9829195.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Brian MacLellan is still confident in Andre Burakovsky

With the trade deadline approaching and Andre Burakovsky struggling to stay in the lineup, it is not hard to connect the dots and wonder if Burakovsky could be on the trading block.

A 23-year-old winger with top-six potential still has value on the trade market even if he has struggled with the Caps this season. Considering Washington is in first place in the Metropolitan Division and are still very much in the hunt for the Stanley Cup, Burakovsky could be a valuable chip for Washington to offer other teams in order to address any weaknesses in the lineup, such as defense.

But it certainly does not sound like that is an option general manager Brian MacLellan is considering.

"[Burakovsky] got off track with his injury and missed some time and got out of sync," MacLellan told reporters on Saturday. "I'm really confident that he's going to be a good player here. He'll find it down the stretch for us."

Barry Trotz has remained adamant in recent days that Burakovsky is still important to the team, but that "Now it’s really on Andre. He’s not a first [or] second-year player. He’s a fourth-year player now. We need him down the stretch here.”

RELATED: ELLER RE-SIGNS WITH CAPS FOR FIVE YEARS

MacLellan's comments on Saturday seem to further cement the team's belief in his ability to bounce back this season.

With both the general manager and head coach on the same page when it comes to Burakovsky and his importance to the team, it seems unlikely that he would be shopped at the trade deadline.

Quick Links

Now that Trotz has Burakovsky's attention, will the Caps winger respond?

usatsi_10513613.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Now that Trotz has Burakovsky's attention, will the Caps winger respond?

Andre Burakovsky’s status for Friday’s game against the Blue Jackets remains unclear, but Coach Barry Trotz was very clear about what he needs from the fourth-year winger: more production and fewer miscues with the puck.

“We’ve all seen it—he’s a really good player,” Trotz said after Thursday’s practice. “We’ve seen it in the playoffs. He just hasn’t found his game.”

RELATED: RILEY BARBER IS SCORING, BRIAN PINHO IS UP FOR ANOTHER AWARD AND GARRET PILON IS MAKING AN IMPRESSION

On Tuesday night in Columbus, Burakovsky did not see the ice in the third period of Washington’s 3-2 victory. In fact, his 6:34 of playing time was a season-low.

“Some of the decisions he was making, I was just trying to get his attention a little bit,” Trotz said of the benching.

On Thursday, Burakovsky appeared to be the odd man out in practice as Alex Chiasson took his spot on the third line. 

Trotz, meantime, said he and his coaching staff have invested significant time working with Burakovsky off the ice this season. Now, though, it’s time for that tutelage to begin clicking on the rink.  

“There’s certain things that we can help him with as a coaching staff,” Trotz added. “We’re helping him all the time, pointing out things to him and showing him a lot of film. Now it’s really on Andre. He’s not a first [or] second-year player. He’s a fourth-year player now. We need him down the stretch here.”

MORE CAPITALS: THE CAPS WOULD BE A DIFFERENT TEAM WITHOUT TOM WILSON

It’s obviously been a difficult season for Burakovsky, who turns 23 on Friday. There were big expectations heaped on the 2013 first rounder after he inked a two-year, $6 million extension last summer. Then he stumbled a bit out of the gate. Then he suffered a broken thumb that required surgery and cost him 21 games. Then he got scratched. Then he got sick. Then he got scratched again.

In all, he has accumulated just 4 goals and 11 points in 28 contests.

Burakovsky acknowledged that things haven’t gone how he had envisioned. But he was also quick to express optimism about the final 29 games.

“It’s definitely has not been easy,” he said. “It’s not really what I was expecting of this year at all. But we still have the most important left of the season. I’m just going to get ready for the playoffs so I can help the team as much as I can.”

Quick Links

A coach's decision, not injury, kept Burakovsky out in the third period against Columbus

usatsi_10590302.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

A coach's decision, not injury, kept Burakovsky out in the third period against Columbus

Andre Burakovsky's difficult season continued on Tuesday as the young winger was benched for the entire third period of Washington's 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Burakovsky's last shift of the game ended with 2:11 remaining in the second period. On the shift, Burakovsky turned the puck over at the blue line in the defensive zone, leading to a long-range shot from Cam Atkinson that was saved by Braden Holtby. For the game, he was a minus-1 with two shots on goal.

RELATED: SEE THE 3 STARS OF CAPS-JACKETS

Head coach Barry Trotz was not asked about Burakovsky after the game, but Injury was not a factor as a team official confirmed to NBC Sports Washington on Wednesday that Burakovsky not playing in the third period was a coach's decision.

It has been a difficult season for the 22-year-old winger who many hoped would be a breakout player in his fourth season with the team. A fractured thumb Burakovsky suffered at the end of October forced him to miss 20 games. In the 28 games he has played, he has failed to find the offensive consistency the team was hoping for with only four goals and 11 assists and has at times been a healthy scratch out of the lineup.

MORE CAPITALS: 4 REASONS THE CAPS BEAT THE BLUE JACKETS

Tuesday's performance was significant in that Burakovsky was reunited with Brett Connolly and Lars Eller, a line that played tremendously well together last season. With an off-day on Wednesday, Thursday will be our first chance to see if Burakovsky remains in the lineup for the second leg of the home-and-home against Columbus.