NHL Draft prospects: No. 17 Andre Burakowsky

Andre Burakowsky celebrates a goal with his Swedish teammates.

SPORTSNET.CA is previewing the top 30 prospects in the 30 days leading up to the 2013 National Hockey League Draft in New Jersey on June 30.

The next prospect in our countdown is already a decorated international player at 17, Swedish forward Andre Burakowsky.

Stats: Malmo (Allsvenskan) | 43 GP | 4 G | 7 A | 11 P | -2 | 8 PIM

Who is Andre Burakowsky?
Burakowsky shone on the international stage, representing Sweden at the 2012 world under-17 hockey challenge, the 2012 and 2013 under-18 world championships and the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial under-18 tournament.

He’s the son of Robert Burakowsky, a long-time forward in Europe’s pro leagues who played 23 games for the Ottawa Senators in the 1993-94 season. He played sparingly in the Swedish Elite League last season and may be looking for new challenges next season.

Andre Burakowsky’s scouting report:
Burakowsky is a skilled, offensive catalyst possessing a good shot and playmaking abilities. His skating is superb and he’s got the speed to burn past defencemen, which enables his offensive game to take off. Burakowsky isn’t afraid to play in the rough areas of the ice and will do so to set up a scoring chance. His defensive game isn’t an asset, but his willingness to learn is. His offensive game will be the most intriguing aspect for an NHL team looking for a future winger to play in their top six.

Teams who might be interested in Andre Burakowsky:
The New York Islanders have done a successful job stockpiling young defencemen which puts the onus now on finding skilled forwards. Ryan Strome is the jewel of their forward crop amongst prospects, but the Isles have a notable lack of wingers capable of producing in a top six role. Burakowsky may be a need for the rising Islanders, and give them a skilled forward to project in a future scoring role.

Scout’s take: “Burakowsky is a skilled European player that was exceptional at the Ivan Hlinka tournament,” said David Burstyn, director of scouting for McKeen’s Hockey. “However, he played this year in the elite league in Sweden and he didn’t really get a whole lot of ice time. Against his own age group, when he played in various tournaments this year, he was very good. He’s got elite speed, elite hand skills, he makes plays, generates a lot of offence and his foot- and hand-speed marry with one another. He’s still a bit slender, but he’s got some time to fill out.

“He’s going to explore the CHL as an option, which I think will make him an even more enticing draft pick,” Burstyn continued. “Burakowsky’s one of those types of players that could fit the role of a top-six forward because he’s got all the skills to be a scorer. This year, he may have taken a little bit of a back step because of the league he was playing in and the lack of playing time. Scouts see a lot of good positives in him.”

“A fantastic puck-handler who can be near impossible to knock off the puck,” added Ross MacLean, head scout for International Scouting Services. “Burakowsky is also extremely elusive on his edges, making him dangerous to cut into spaces quickly. He can really get opponents turned inside out and is very good at drawing attention and hitting free teammates with the puck. He needs to learn how to play a bit bigger and get more physical, but his skill level will really speak to some NHL clubs looking for a dynamic offensive producer.”

Rankings: Burakowsky was ranked sixth by the NHL’s Central Scouting (European skaters), and 16th by International Scouting Services and McKeen’s Hockey.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.