Thursday, November 24, 2016

Erik Burgdoerfer Vs Providence Bruins 11/23/2016 (Grade B+)

There were a lot of questions facing how the Amerks would perform tonight after the recent call ups of Cole Schneider and Cal O'Riley. They looked very much like an undermanned roster playing without a captain. In O'Rilely, Schneider and Fedun, the Amerks were missing their top 3 point scorers this year accounting for 47 of the Amerks 135 points accumulated before tonights game. Including the 4 points Carrier has that is over 37% of the Amerks total scoring missing from the lineup. Tonight there was no quit in the Amerks and Bailey Nylander and Baptiste all played very well offensively and were able to combine for 3 goals and 3 assists. But top to bottom the Amerks did not play well enough to be competitive tonight.

The box score of tonights game will tell you that Erik Burgdoerfer was a -2 and had four penalty minutes. That does not do the performance that Burgdoerfer turned in justice. I thought he was the best blue liner that the Amerks had tonight and that is reflected in the grade I have assigned to him ; a B+. I personally don’t thing he deserved either one of the penalties he took tonight. On the first he mad a nice play to stop a break away tying up a forward after a bouncing back pass caused a turnover in the offensive zone. The Bruins forward was able to get a hold of Burgdoerfer's stick while he played the body and was able to fool the linesman into a hooking call. On the other Burgdoerfer made a phenomenal backtracking play to stop a sure fire goal scoring chance created from a turn over committed by Strachan.

Defensively he turned in a great performance. He was constantly glued to a man in the defensive zone and did a very good job getting the puck out of the zone when he was called upon. When his man went behind the net he was quick to follow him and promptly staple him to the boards so a team mate could swoop in and start the break out. He did a great job in front of the net moving his man out the goalies way. Early in the second he did a fantastic job hounding his man and lifting his stick off the ice so he couldn't receive a centering pass. Unfortunately the pas made it to a waiting Bruin on the point who fired a shot above Ullmark's shoulder. His partner did not do as good a job in front of the net. Honestly it looked like they were trying to run Burgdoerfer around the zone with a decoy forward for much of the night so they could set up shop behind Strachen all night long. The thing I like most about Burdoerfer's defensive play is the intelligence he plays the game with. His head is always on a swivel and he is constantly aware of his responsibilities.

Offensively Burgdoerfer is still lacking quite a bit of polish, but I thought he played a serviceable game. I thought he looked a little bit nervy receiving the puck and mad a few errors that could have led to turnovers. He did miss a pinch on a bouncing puck that led to the first penalty he took on the night, but outside of that instance I thought he picked the right times to pinch and did a good job keeping it in the zone and finding a stick. He made a very nice pass in the first period off the boards to give the Amerks and odd man rush, and showed his ability to skate the puck into the zone on a few occasions. I'd like to see him skate the puck a little bit more often and shoot a little bit more from the point. He only registered one shot and there was no traffic when he took it.

Going forward I think that Burgdoerfer is a key piece for the Amerks. Based on the way he sees the game and the speed he thinks I see no reason why he couldn't play at the NHL level. I think he has to be a little more solid in puck possession but outside of that I had to work pretty hard to find a flaw in his game.  

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