Andre Burakovsky, 24, enters his first season with the Colorado Avalanche after being acquired from the Washington Capitals on June 28. A first-round pick in 2013 (23rd overall), Burakovsky spent his first five seasons in D.C., totaling 145 points (62 goals, 83 assists) in 328 career games.
In the 2018-19 season, the Klagenfurt, Austria, native recorded 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) while averaging just over 11 minutes of ice-time in 76 games and he added two points (one goal, one assist) in seven postseason outings.
After missing most of the first two rounds of the 2018 playoffs with an upper-body injury, Burakovsky provided key depth for the Capitals and tallied six points (two goals, four assists) in 13 contests en route to a Stanley Cup victory.
Burakovsky, who is at his first training camp with the Avs, sat down with ColoradoAvalanche.com to discuss his new environment and what he hopes to bring to Colorado.
What were your immediate thoughts upon learning you were going to be a member of the Avalanche?
"That it was a good opportunity. I want to play more, I want to be involved more. I don't really think I got that opportunity in Washington, so when I heard that I was traded to Colorado I was really excited. I knew (Gabriel) Landeskog before, and (Philipp) Grubauer, and I knew that Colorado had a young team with a lot of speed. That's something I think I can bring to the game. My first thought was that it was a good fit for me to play here."
Video: Andre Burakovsky on joining the Avalanche
What ways do you envision your game growing in Colorado?
"I just wanted to play more. I thought I had some good games (in Washington), but my minutes were really low so it's hard to get going and be productive. But I think I'll get an opportunity (to play more minutes) here. I'm going to come out and do anything it takes to win the game. Obviously I'm going to try to earn a spot on the top lines."
What insight do you bring on knowing what it takes to win a Stanley Cup?
"First of all, we have to make it to the playoffs. I think we have a really good team that can go far, but we have to get together as a group, as a unit, and work for each other. If you do that you have a chance to go all the way, but we have a long season ahead of us. Take it day by day."
You gained a lot of playoff experience with the Capitals--how close is the difference between a playoff team and a Cup contender?
"Just look at the years before (Washington won the Cup). We lost every second round and then suddenly we came together as a unit. We knew what it would take to win. It's a lot of sacrifice, but we came together as a group and that's something you have to do in the playoffs. You can't have one guy who's lacking--you need everyone to be on top of their game. I think we were really lucky that year that everyone was playing on top of their game, not a lot of mistakes. We just have to follow the game plan and put the work in."
You've skated on a line with Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon at camp, having played with star players in the past is there a key to complementing their skill sets?
"Obviously they're two of the best players in the league, I just don't want to take up too much space from them. But at the same time, I'm going to have the puck a lot to do my thing. I can bring a lot of speed. Landy's a really good playmaker, a two-way player who takes a lot of responsibility. And obviously MacKinnon, just give him the puck and he'll just do his thing on his own. I think it will be fun to play with those guys--we can be a real threat."
At 24 years old, do you think you fit in better with a young Colorado squad than with the veteran-heavy team in Washington?
"I don't think much about that. You're with these guys 24/7. You come together as a family--it doesn't matter if you're young, old, whatever, everyone just comes together as a group and takes care of each other. It feels like one big family when you're on the road. Everyone has to respect each other because that's what it takes to be a successful team."
Do you expect there to be any differences playing in the Western Conference instead of the East?
"I don't know. I've never played on a different team, so we'll see. I've played against every team in the league, but I don't know if it'll be different from east to west."
Have you been able to experience Colorado yet with any hikes or trips to the mountains?
"No, I've just been here, playing a little golf with some of the guys. But mostly just trying to get comfortable in my house and spend some time on the golf course."