General manager Brian MacLellan told team website reporter Mike Vogel that Burakovsky requested a trade before the deadline last February.
“We pursued it at the deadline, but it would have had to be a home run then,” MacLellan said. “We would have had to bring back a player at that point. To trade him for picks at the deadline didn’t make any sense when we were trying to put together a playoff run.”
It spells the end of a bumpy tenure in Washington for Burakovsky, the Capitals‘ first-round pick in 2013. He made his NHL debut in 2014-15 and posted a 17-goal season the year after that, but then his production tailed off and former coach Barry Trotz sometimes made him a healthy scratch.
A 23-year-old who’s still considered to have a high ceiling, Burakovsky was the subject of trade speculation during the 2018-19 campaign. But the Capitals chose to hang on to him, and he performed better in the final months of the season.
“Had the player not requested the trade, I would have preferred to keep him in that third-line role for this season,” MacLellan said.
The Austrian-born Swede finished the year with 12 goals and 13 assists, adding a goal in the playoff series against Carolina. He now gets a fresh start with a team that sports the high-scoring line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog.
It’s the second straight offseason that Washington made a deal with the Avalanche. Last June, the Capitals sent goalie Philipp Grubauer to Colorado, along with Brooks Orpik’s outsize contract, in exchange for a second-round draft pick. Then Colorado bought out Orpik’s contract and he returned to the Capitals.
Kosmachuk, 25, is a minor-league forward with only eight career games in the NHL. Because the Capitals asked for Kosmachuk in the trade, they are likely to sign him to a two-way deal and start him with the AHL affiliate Hershey Bears.
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