Photo: Amanda Bowen
While Andre Burakovsky was one of the team’s top possession wingers last year, he will begin the preseason at center – just like he did as a rookie. Last season, Burakovsky tallied 12 points in his first 15 games, most of which he spent up the middle.
“I’m going to start at center,” Burakovsky said to NHL.com’s Katie Brown after his on-ice session Saturday. “I’ve been practicing at center, I was at center today, and it felt good. I have some chemistry with [Marcus Johansson] and [Garrett Mitchell]. It felt good out there. It’s a lot more responsibility but it felt good.”
With Nicklas Backstrom slated to potentially miss the entire month of October recovering from hip surgery, Evgeny Kuznetsov is the most likely candidate to move up and center fellow countryman Alex Ovechkin. That will leave Burakovsky, Brooks Laich, Jay Beagle, Michael Latta, and Derek Roy all battling it out to center the team’s other three lines.