The Seattle Kraken have signed left-winger Andre Burakovsky to a five-year deal with an average annual value of $5.5 million.
Burakovsky Cashes In After Career Year
Burakovsky, 27, is coming off the best season of his eight-year NHL career, recording 22 goals and 39 assists for 61 points in 80 games for a deep Colorado Avalanche team that won the Stanley Cup.
In the 2022 playoffs, he had three goals and five assists for eight points in 12 games, most notably scoring the overtime winner in Game 1 of the Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was forced to sit out Games 3 through 6, however, after blocking a Victor Hedman shot with his hand and breaking his thumb in Game 2.
The Austrian-born Burakovsky, who grew up in Sweden, has spent the last three seasons with the Avalanche, recording 44-plus points in each campaign. The Avalanche originally acquired him in a June 2018 trade with the Washington Capitals, in exchange for Scott Kosmachuk and a 2020 third-round pick. The Avalanche signed him to a one-year contract, and then a two-year, $9.8 million extension that ran through this season.
The trade ended a four-season stint with the Capitals for Burakovsky, who was drafted by the team 23rd overall in 2013. Overall, in 519-career games between the Avalanche and Capitals, Burakovsky has 123 goals and 172 assists for 295 points.
Avalanche’s Cap Crush is Kraken’s Gain
Considering the number of elite players in their prime as the Avalanche have currently, it’s no surprise they have some hefty contracts on the books and are dealing with a cap crunch.
It’s no secret newly-minted general manager Chris MacFarland and company don’t have a whole lot of monetary wiggle room the offseason. With big-time UFAs due for extensions both this and next summer (Nazem Kadri this summer among others, and Erik Johnson and Nathan MacKinnon next summer) they have some tough decisions to make regarding who from their Cup-winning season is most important to retain in their quest for another Cup run in 2022-23. There were bound to be some losses such as Burakovsky.
Previously, they re-signed forward Andrew Cogliano to a one-year deal, and acquired goaltender Alexandar Georgiev from the New York Rangers. Georgiev’s contract carries an AAV of $3.4 million and his arrival indicates the Avalanche won’t pursue re-signing UFA goaltender Darcy Kuemper.
Kraken Look to Find Relevance in Sophomore Season
Unlike the Avalanche, the Kraken have plenty of cap space. Unlike the Vegas Golden Knights — who were instant contenders upon joining the NHL in 2017-18 — the Kraken did not enjoy much success in their inaugural campaign. They finished last in the Pacific Division with a 27-49-6 record, and by the Trade Deadline, GM Ron Francis had embraced a seller’s mentality and sold off many of the players he’d plucked less than a year before in last summer’s Expansion Draft.
In Burakovsky, the Kraken is getting a speedy and creative offensive talent with good hands and puck handling ability. Standing at 6-foot-3, 200-pounds, Burakovsky can play centre in addition to wing, but hasn’t done so extensively since his rookie 2014-15 season.
This will be the first struggling team Burakovsky has played for as in his eight-season career he’s never been on a team that’s missed the playoffs. Regardless, he should be a steady presence on the Kraken’s top six in 2022-23.
Check out THW’s 2022 Free Agent Signing Tracker for up-to-date news on all player signings during NHL Free Agency.
Declan Schroeder is a 27-year-old communications specialist and freelance journalist in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He holds a diploma in Creative Communications with a major in journalism from Red River College and a bachelors in Rhetoric and Communications from the University of Winnipeg.
Deeply rooted in the city’s hockey culture, the original Jets skipped town when he was two and the 2.0 version came onto the scene when he was 17.