Andre Burakovsky wants to be more of a leader in Seattle after playing second fiddle to stars in Washington and Colorado
Andre Burakovsky won Stanley Cups with both of his former teams, but the Swedish forward did so as more of a complementary piece.
Now, with the ink freshly dried on his five-year deal with the Seattle Kraken, Burakovsky is looking to win a third championship, but this time as the main scoring threat and a team leader.
“I want to get a bigger role, play more, take more responsibility, be more a leader,” Burakovsky said to Seattle media on Thursday. “I just want to get better every day and to become better you need to play more. When I was in Washington, I was far behind Ovi, Backstrom, TJ Oshie, Kuznetsov, and all those guys. Then I came to Colorado, I was in the shadow of MacKinnon, Landeskog, and Rantanen. Now I want to develop into more of a leader and show the way for the younger guys.”
During his five seasons in DC, Burakovsky averaged neverd over 14 minutes of ice time. His highest single-season average was given to him last season in Colorado (16:15) and even then it still dragged behind six of the Avs’ other forwards.
Burakovsky may not have played as much as he wanted to but those teams gave him the unique opportunity of being able to win two Stanley Cups in just five years. That is the experience he says he hopes to bring to Seattle.
“In Washington, what stood out for that team was that everyone was so close to each other,” Burakovsky said. “Everyone took care of each other, everyone was looking after each other. It was like a very close family in Washington. Coming into Seattle, I kind of want to bring that family environment that we had in Washington. I think it comes a long way.”
Keeping the kid warm during flight delay from NYC..that’s leadership baby pic.twitter.com/OsjYKgiMzo
— Justin Williams (@JustinWilliams) December 15, 2016
Some of that family atmosphere is prebuilt with the Kraken as Burakovsky will share a locker room with former Capitals, Avalanche, and Swedish national team teammates.
“Obviously, Grubauer (reached out first),” he said. “WENNBERG, I know a lot from playing with him in the Swedish national team and the junior team. There was a bunch of players reaching out to me, that was nice to hear from them. I felt really welcomed right away.”
The Kraken also added defenseman Michal Kempny this summer, who played parts of two seasons with Burakovsky in DC.
“I think we all know what Burky can do, obviously we saw it last season,” Kempny said in his own media availability back on August 2. “I’m really happy for him, I know he’s a great player, great guy, funny guy We had a lot of fond memories together, can’t wait to see him again.”
Grade Seattle’s first offseason 📝👇 pic.twitter.com/f4nHQquJSp
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) August 22, 2022
The 27-year-old sniper jumps onto a Kraken team that finished last in the Pacific Division during its inaugural season and were only bested by the Arizona Coyotes and Montreal Canadiens in terms of the league’s worst record.
“From a team standpoint, I thought Seattle last year was a really tough team to play against,” Burakovsky said. “I know the first game went in our favor kinda easy, but the second game I think we lost. It was always tough to play against Seattle because they were always working extremely hard. It was tough to get to the net. It was tough to win battles in the corners. They were playing with tremendous speed and that’s the kind of hockey that I like. I like it to go fast, fast players, play with a lot of speed. I think this team is going to fit me well.”
In three games against his new team last season, Burakovsky scored twice and assisted on two more goals. He’ll hope to do the same back to the Avalanche and Capitals in the near future.
Screenshot: Seattle Kraken/Youtube