Kraken land free agent left winger Andre Burakovsky

2022 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JUNE 26: h95#2of the Colorado Avalanche carries the Stanley Cup following the series winning victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Six of the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on June 26, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

Andre Burakovsky, a prime target to hit the free agent market, only took hours to find his new destination. 

The left winger just finishing his ninth season off his second Stanley Cup title and 22-goal season with the Colorado Avalanche is coming to the Pacific Northwest, signing a five-year contract with $5.5 million annually. 

Burakovsky, 27, notched a career-high 61 points last season and had eight points in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games, including the overtime winner in game one of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning, whom the Avalanche defeated in six games. His two Stanley Cup titles come with leadership in dressing rooms that included Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.

"He's a two-time Stanley Cup guy which is always good to bring into your locker room," said Kraken general manager Ron Francis.

WIth Burakovsky, the Kraken offense is expected to not just take a jolt overall, but on the man advantage that finished in the bottom four of the NHL at 14.6 percent. He provided Colorado with 36 power play points over the last three seasons, and last season earned the sixth most ice time on the team when up in manpower.

2022 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One

DENVER, COLORADO - JUNE 15: Andre Burakovsky #95 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during overtime to win Game One of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final 4-3 at Ball Arena on June 15, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

"When we look at our lineup, something we look at to improve on is our power play," said Francis. "He's a guy we think who can step in, he can come in that downhill side off the wing. He's got a good shot, and has good vision to make plays. We think he'll get more opportunities with us in that role than he did in Colorado."

The 6-foot-3, 201-pound winger brings size and a gifted offensive touch to a Kraken lineup in search of upgrades. Burakovsky, who is five goals shy of 300 in his NHL career, first cracked the 20-goal barrier in his first of three years with Colorado in 2019-20. That followed two years after his first Stanley Cup championship with the Washington Capitals, playing in a depth role behind Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and John Carlson. 

Burakovsky elevated his game this past season, playing alongside Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Nazem Kadri and Cale Makar where his 61 points finished fifth on the Avalanche.

Burakovsky became available when his two-year, $9.8 million contract ran dry and the Avalanche had pressing needs to extend defenseman Josh Manson, forward Valeri Nichuskin, and are faced with the task of extending superstar Nathan MacKinnon next summer. 

The Kraken, finishing 29th in the NHL with 2.6 goals per game last season, add Burakovsky to a potential top six that includes center Matty Beniers, newly drafted and signed forward Shane Wright, and wingers Jared McCann, Jordan Eberle, and Jaden Schwartz. 

Burakovsky has 295 points in 519 NHL games with Washington and Colorado. 

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