Every season young players break through to the NHL rosters ready to begin the new chapter of their careers. For this upcoming season the Capitals have a few players ready to make that very leap.
Andre Burakowski LW, Sweden
Andre Burakowski is described as a gifted scorer and a strong skater. Burakowski spent last season with the Erie Otters of the CHL, where he scored 41 goals and recorded 46 assists in 57 games. At last seasons’ WJU20 tournament, Burakowski scored three times while also adding four assists in seven games to win the silver medal. Burakowski also won the silver medal at the U18 level (2011-2012), and was awarded J20 SuperElit (overal) most points by U17 junior (2011-2012). Burakowski’s father Robert, played 23 games with the Ottawa Senators. His uncle Mikael enjoyed success in Denmark and his grandfather Benny coached and managed until his death in 2007.
Evgeni Kuznetsov RW/C, Russia
While Kuznetsov did play 17 games with the Capitals last season, scoring three goals and adding six assists, he will remain a rookie for next season. Kuznetsov is described as a great skater with superb stick skills with a need to get stronger. Kuznetsov made Capitals fans sweat to see if he would ever make his way over to DC while he spent the last three seasons in the KHL on Traktor Chelyabinsk. You can read more about Kuznetsov here from my article from last November.
Michael Latta, C, Canada
Like Kuznetsov, Latta played 17 games with the Capitals, scored one goal and notched three assist while mostly centering the fourth line. Latta is going to be reconnected with his old coach Barry Trotz who was in Nashville, the team that drafted Latta. Latta is expected to crack an NHL roster spot next season on the Caps now that he is not exempt from waivers. He spent most of last season with the Hershey Bears playing 52 games and producing 32 points.
Philipp Grubauer, G, Germany
Capitals fans should remember Grubauer who was part of the disastrous “three’s company” goaltending rotation last season. However with the signing of Justin Peters, it looks like Grubauer will remain in Hersey this upcoming season as the starting goaltender there. Grubauer played 28 games in Hershey last season and posted a 2.60 GAA and a .916 save percentage. In Grubauer’s 17 starts with the Capitals last season, he had a 2.38 GAA and a .925 save percentage. You can read more about Grubauer here.