After scoring 17 goals in 2015-16, the 21-year-old has found the back of the net just twice in 27 games this season.
On Monday morning, head coach Barry Trotz decided it was in his player’s best interest to skate on a line during practice, instead of serving as an extra forward. Trotz noticed a difference.
“What I liked there is that he was sniping today,” the coach said, per the Washington Post. “Instead of just getting his shot on net, every time he was shooting, he was trying to score. That’s what he does. Getting his shot off quickly, his release is really good. I have him playing the left side. I think probably the right side might help him a little more naturally, get that shot locked and loaded. But we’ve got a lot of right wingers right now, so he may have to start [on the left], and we’ll see if we can get him over there.”
Slow starts aren’t exactly new when it comes to Burakosky. Last year, he came out of the gate the same way he did this year. If you rewind exactly one year to the day, the Caps forward had two goals in 28 contests.
It wasn’t until Jan. 5 that he scored his third of the year. Later that month, he caught fire, as he scored at least one goal in five straight (six total) between Jan. 19 and Feb. 6.
“Actually, you look at his points last year at the same pace, how many did he have? He had seven,” added Trotz. “He’s traditionally been a slow starter for us, so we’ve got to figure that out for next year.”
Maybe we’ll see him take off, again, soon.