By The Numbers: Andre Burakovsky Hot Play Since Being A Healthy Scratch

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Posted January 18, 2017

(Caps Outsider)

It wasn’t the most ideal of starts for winger Andre Burakovsky. After coming off a career high 38 point season a year ago more was expected from the third-year forward.

For Burakovsky, and the Washington Capitals the start to the 2016-2017 campaign was a difficult one, as the 21-year old forward only registered tens points (2 G, 8 A) in the first 27 games. What was even more frustrating was that Burakovsky scored both of those goals opening night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

So eight assists was all he was able to muster up over the next 26, landing Burakovsky in the press box for a three-game stretch as a healthy scratch.

Since getting back in the lineup, Barry Trotz and the Capitals have seen more and more of the kind of play from Burakovsky that they had hoped to get from him earlier in the year.

The key to his newfound success has been simple – Burakovsky has shot the puck more, and Trotz has put him in a position to generate offense. From the beginning of the season to December 11 – his last game before being a healthy scratch – Burakovsky averaged 6.49 even strength shots per 60 minutes while starting 33.76% of his shifts in the offensive zone.

Once he was put back in the lineup, he is averaging three more shots per 60 minutes and is starting over 40% of his shifts in the offensive zone.

Put him in the position to succeed and he will. Some more numbers from before and after Burakovsky being a healthy scratch.

October 13-December 11 December 21-Present
G/60 0.37 1.61
A/60 1.30 1.61
P/60 1.67 3.22
CF% 53.31% 57.48%

*All stats from Corsica.Hockey, based on 5v5 play.

Since getting back into the lineup, Burakovsky has the third highest G/60 mark among the Capitals’ forwards and is sixth overall in P/60. He was always a positive puck possession player, but since December 21 the Capitals have controlled nearly 60% of all shot attempts while Burakovsky has been on the ice.

October 13-December 11 December 21-Present
Goals-For per 60 1.85 4.03
Goals-Against per 60 2.04 0.81
RelGF% -16.79% 11.59%
Scoring Chance For % 44.44% 69.44%

 

Relative numbers are good to see how a team is performing when a player is on the ice compared to when he isn’t. Having a -16.79 RelGF% means that the Capitals were being scored on far more when Burakovsky is on the ice as to when he was off. Since December 21, Washington has a nearly 12-point higher GF% when he is on the ice as to when he is off.

Talk about controlling the action with Burakovsky’s high possession numbers, the Capitals are absolutely owning the scoring chances while he is on the ice with a near 70% mark in their favor.

The Capitals are coming off a nine-game winning streak in which they dominated the play for the most part, so it is going to be easy to have strong numbers during this time. One look at Burakovsky on his own, though, and you can see that he has elevated his play since having to sit in the press box.

For the former the first round pick, it wasn’t an ideal situation, but it may end up being the best thing that could happen for him in the long run. He is currently not quite at the pace to top his points total from a year ago, thanks to the start of the season, but if he keeps playing like this he could certainly make up ground and set a new career high.