The Washington Capitals likely won’t see their top pick in the 2013 NHL draft on American pro ice any time soon, but it’s hard to criticize the selection of winger Andre Burakovsky at 23rd overall. The Austrian-born Swedish forward is being groomed in a lower league out in Scandinavia for the moment — notching four goals and seven assists in 43 games this past year — and could use some more solid weight on that 6-1, 176-pound frame.
The 18-year-old was widely considered one of the best European players in the draft. He has pedigree on his side, with father Robert Burakovsky having played for many years in Europe and one with the Ottawa Senators in the 1990s. Now he just needs polish before joining the likes of Alex Ovechkin, who reportedly gave the giddy draft pick a call upon his selection.
Burakovsky marks the sixth-straight draft in which the Caps have taken a Euro player with their top pick. Making the biggest impact in red out of these picks has probably been Swedish forward Marcus Johansson, who Washington took in 2009. In due time Burakovsky could join him on the ice.
“He’s going to take a little time to develop,” Capitals general manager George McPhee said, via PennLive.com. “I don’t think he’s going to be like a Johannson, where you draft him one summer and he’s in the lineup a year later. This kid is going to take a little more time to develop, but that’s OK. There’s some indications that he might come over and play junior as well in North America. That would be good, too, if he wanted to do that.
“We understand if he wants to spend a year over there and come over, or two years. He’s going to take some time to develop. We’ll take our time and do it right, because the end product could be pretty good.”