The Erie Otters won’t give up on getting Andre Burakovsky in their lineup next season.
“I believe the best possible (way) for Andre Burakovsky to become a professional (hockey player) is to come and play with us,” Dave Brown, Otters assistant manager of hockey operations, said today in response to reports that Burakovsky, the fifth overall pick in last week’s CHL Import Draft and the Washington Capitals’ first-round pick in the recent NHL Entry Draft, won’t report to the Otters.
Brown said Otters officials weren’t surprised when they learned of the initial report Monday, which was in a tweet from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News. Kennedy reportedly received confirmation from Kevin Epp, Burakovsky’s agent with Titan Sports Management of Vancouver, British Columbia.
Brown said club officials have yet to speak with Epp and Burakovsky. Yet they received conflicting thoughts before the CHL draft regarding Burakovsky’s hockey home next season. Contacts within the NHL told Brown that the Austrian-born Burakovsky would play in the CHL. Patrik Aronsson, his agent with AC Hockey AB in Molndal, Sweden, told Brown that Burakovsky wouldn’t report.
Meanwhile, Brown has received positive feedback from Capitals officials, namely Director of Player Development Steve Richmond, about Burakovsky joining the Otters. “They think it’s a great idea (that) he play in Erie and get to play on a line with Connor McDavid,” Brown said.
Now Otters officials will wait to learn about the Capitals’ plans for Burakovsky. The Otters also plan to speak with Epp, Brown said, to “prove … we are as good an organization as we think we are.”
Note: I’m waiting to hear back from Sherry Bassin, Otters managing partner and general manager, who was unable to speak this morning because he was in a meeting. Epp hasn’t returned a message left earlier today, while Aronsson has yet to respond to an e-mail. Check back for updates as well as a report in the Erie Times-News on Wednesday
- Victor Fernandes