Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images
Capitals first-round pick Andre Burakovsky has completed his first regular season in North America. The OHL’s Erie Otters, led by Burakovsky, the Leafs’ Connor Brown, the Canucks’ Dane Fox and 2015 Draft top prospect Connor McDavid, have finished third in the Western Conference and fourth in CHL Team Rankings.
Burakovsky heated up just in time. In the month of March (seven games), the young Swede scored eight goals and added nine assists, finishing with 41 goals and 87 points in total, good for ninth in the league in goals and 15th in points. Among players under 19 years of age, Burakovsky was third in goals and eighth in points.
Burakovsky, who was signed to a contract by the Caps last September, can play in the AHL next season because he was not a CHL player when he got drafted. This fact may help him to work his way into the big league sooner and give the Caps more flexibility in developing Burakovsky, something they didn’t have with Tom Wilson.
In the first round of the playoffs, Erie will face Saginaw Spirit. The first game of this series will be played on Friday at 7 PM ET.
The rest of the Caps prospects in the CHL have made the playoffs as well. All will have home ice advantage on their side.
- Madison Bowey set a record for most goals by a Kelowna defenseman in a single season with 21 (notable ex-Rockets blueliners include Shea Weber, Tyler Myers, Alexander Edler, Duncan Keith, Tyson Barrie and Sheldon Souray).
- Tyler Lewington led his team, the Medicine Hat Tigers, in penalty minutes with 121.
- Garrett Haar‘s Portland Winterhawks look to repeat as WHL champions. If they go far in the playoffs, it’s possible that another Caps prospect, Blake Heinrich, who is currently playing for Sioux City in the USHL, will join them.
- Jaynen Rissling will be the first of the Caps CHL prospects to start the playoffs — his Calgary Hitmen play as early as tonight.
- Chandler Stephenson finished the season leading his Regina Pats with 89 points in 69 games.