By Dennis Allen, Jr.
There were a lot of questions facing how the Amerks would perform tonight after the recent call ups of Cole Schneider and Cal O’Reilly. They looked very much like an undermanned roster playing without a captain. In O’Reilly, Schneider and Fedun, the Amerks were missing their top 3 point scorers this year accounting for 47 of the Amerks 135 points accumulated before tonight’s 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. While Bailey, Nylander and Baptiste all played very well offensively and were able to combine for 3 goals and 3 assists, from top to bottom the Amerks did not play well enough to be competitive.
The box score of tonight’s game will tell you that Erik Burgdoerfer was a -2 and had four penalty minutes. That does not do his performance any justice. I thought he was the best blue liner the Amerks had tonight. And that is reflected in the grade I have assigned to him; B+. I personally don’t think he deserved either one of the penalties he was assessed. On the first, he made 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 fooled 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 turnover 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 and promptly staple him to the boards so a teammate could swoop in and start the break out. He did a great job in front of the net moving his man out the goalie’s 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, that pass made it to a waiting Bruin on the point who fired a shot above Ullmark’s shoulder. His partners did not do as good in front of the net. Honestly, it looked like the Bruins were trying to run Burgdoerfer around the zone with a decoy forward for much of the night so they could set up shop behind Strachan. The thing I like most about Burgdoerfer’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 bit nervy receiving the puck and made 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 an 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 more often and shoot a 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.
New Lets Go Amerks contributor Dennis Allen Jr. will be posting a scouting report on a different player each home game (and the odd road game) he attends. You can see his previous scouting reports at: http://rocscouting.blogspot.com …… and be sure to follow him @RocScout14
Dennis is an aspiring scout wrapping up his associates program for sport management.