Two top Washington Capitals prospects in the Canadian Hockey League, Andre Burakovsky and Madison Bowey, saw their team’s seasons end on Friday night. Burakovsky’s Erie Otters fell to the Guelph Storm, and Bowey’s Kelowna Rockets were knocked out by the Portland Winterhawks (who feature another Caps draft pick, Garrett Haar).
Andre Burakovsky‘s junior team, the Erie Otters, kicked off the OHL Western conference finals against Guelph Storm on Thursday.
The series features the league’s two best regular-season teams and could become the best match-up of the playoffs, featuring three NHL first-round draft selections (Burakovsky, Brendan Gaunce, and Jason Dickinson) as well as three shoo-ins to be picked in the first round of either 2014 or 2015 (Robby Fabbri, Connor McDavid, and Dylan Strome).
Game One more than lived up to the hype: the teams combined for nine goals on 53 shots, trading the lead all game long. Guelph won 5-4 at home and retained home-ice advantage. Burakovsky, playing on the Otters second line with Strome and Michael Curtis, was the catalyst of Erie’s attacks, earning third star of the game honors.
Capitals first-round pick Andre Burakovsky has had an excellent run in his first season in North America. After scoring 41 goals in 57 games during the regular season, Burakovsky kicked off the OHL playoffs with six goals in four games before hitting a mini-slump of three scoreless contests (all of which were won by his Erie Otters).
That slump lasted through a tight, low-scoring game 3 of the series between Erie and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. With less than two minutes left game and up 1-0, Burakovsky– who doesn’t play with Erie’s stars of Dane Fox, Connor Brown, Brendan Gaunce and Connor McDavid– ensured the win.
Capitals first-round pick Andre Burakovsky was dominant late in the OHL regular season, and he has kept that trend going in the playoffs. In two games against the Saginaw Spirit, Burakovsky scored three goals, turning the Otters’ second line into a lethal weapon. (You know you have deep forward corps when your team can put both him and Brendan Gaunce on the second line.)
The Erie Otters won both games with a final score of 4-3, the second game decided in overtime. The third game will be held on Monday at 7:11 PM ET.
Burakovsky is currently tied for first in goals in these still-young OHL playoffs.
Chandler Stephenson has been one of the most impressive Caps prospects this season (Photo: Derek Leung/Getty Images)
The first half of the 2013-14 season has been mostly positive for Washington Capitals prospects. Unknowns like Andre Burakovsky and Chandler Stephenson have shown real NHL potential, while the elder statesmen of the pool like Nate Schmidt and Patrick Wey, both coming off tremendous college careers, have made steps up the Caps’ depth chart.
However, top two Caps prospects will wish their first half was better: Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s injuries have limited his action and Tom Wilson has had a hard time gaining a meaningful role with the big club.
The feel-good story of the season so far has been Stephenson, who had been bugged by injuries in the past, but is now thriving in a veteran role as an offensive go-to guy for his team. I’ve got more on these stories and our full top-20 ranking below. Continue Reading
But everything changed last week when we saw a special feature on Burakovsky filmed by SVT — better known as Sveriges Television. The angle of the feature focused on Burakovsky’s reunion with his best friend in the whole wide world, Nick Sörensen, and playing on the same line together at the World Junior Championships.
We learned that Burakovsky is a playful and inquisitive guy. And that he’s a huge hugger. Like zero respect of personal space with this guy.
Washington Capitals 2013 first round pick Andre Burakovsky was fantastic in the 2014 World Junior Championships. The 18-year-old was a point per game player for Team Sweden, scoring three goals and tallying seven points in seven tournament games.
Ever since Malmo, Sweden was named host of the 2014 World Junior Championship several years ago, Swedish prospects have circled this date on their calendars, hoping they could win gold in front of their countrymen. Those are huge expectations for teenagers to bear.
On Sunday, Washington Capitals prospects Andre Burakovsky and Christian Djoos felt the stinging heartbreak that comes with those expectations being crushed in front of their hometown fans, losing in overtime of the title game. Sweden, which was arguably the most talented team in the tournament, fell to Finland in sudden death after Rasmus Ristolainen took the puck hard to the net and scored.
Many players on Team Sweden openly wept after the buzzer including team captain and former Capitals prospect Filip Forsberg. Forsberg, who was traded for Martin Erat and Michael Latta during last year’s trade deadline, was named MVP of the tournament and also to the tournament All-Star team. Though, judging by the photos, it did little to console him.
Andre Burakovsky rushes the puck up the ice. (Photo credit: Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images)
In the gold medal game of the 2014 World Juniors, Team Sweden faced Team Finland. As the favourites and the hosts, the Swedes probably didn’t expect a cakewalk against arch-rivals Finland, who had embarrassed Canada in the semifinals, but what happened next may have surprised even the Finnish fans.
Suomi kicked the game off with a shocker just 28 seconds in, Esa Lindell opened the scoring. Tre Kronor were increasing the pressure, but it took them more than 25 minutes to tie on a goal by Lucas Wallmark. Not even a minute later, Finland came right back with a goal of their own on a great set up by Teuvo Teravainen, Saku Maenalanen beat Oskar Dansk. The Sweden again took the full control of the game, but had problems finding the net. With only nine minutes to go, a powerplay bomb by Capitals prospect Christian Djoos tied the game and forced overtime.