As the 2011-12 season has come to a close, the time has come to evaluate what it meant for the Capitals, both as a team and as individuals. As such, as the summer progresses, I will be writing a report card, or individual evaluation, for each player who played in 9 (~10%) of the team's games, or 4 playoff games. Next up is forward Cody Eakin, who finished his first professional season this year with the Capitals and their AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears.
Season Summary: As many expected he would in his first season out of major junior in the Western Hockey League, Eakin split his time between Washington and Hershey throughout the season. Eakin was called up a month into the season and played pretty much every night for a month before his lineup time dwindled in late December. It picked up again in mid January, but Eakin only played in one game after February 1st, and it was as an injury replacement. Overall, the young center played in 30 games, recording four goals, eight points, a plus-two rating, four penalty minutes, and 31 shots on goal. Eakin's corsi rating was -1.12, not good, but not terrible either, compared to some of the other numbers on this team this season. Grade: C
Role Play: Eakin was called up to be a spark, and during his first month in the Washington lineup, he was just that, recording two goals and five points in November. But after that, he really cooled off, being relied more upon a checking role that he struggled in. Overall, however, I would say that for a third round pick playing his first professional season, Eakin was pretty darned good considering all of the circumstances. I didn't expect him to do much at all, and though I feel as though I was in the minority here, he didn't disappoint me. Grade: B
Playoffs: Eakin did not play in a single playoff game this season, though he was recalled as one of the "black aces" after the Bears were eliminated from the playoffs in late April. Grade: N/A
Future Potential: Eakin is a player that has been highly touted his entire junior and professional career so far, at one point being traded in the WHL for five players and three draft picks. However, after this pro season, I think his value took a bit of a hit. To me, he still profiles as a third line center or, at best second line winger; the kind of guy who can give you between 40 and 50 points a season with good speed and a solid defensive presence. Eakin will be good, but I don't think he will be as most think he will. I would not be suprised if Georege McPhee dangled him a trade bait this offseason to try and address needs, especially because he is the type of player that some executives may really desire; one they would want in exchange for a player the Capitals require. Regardless, I have no doubt he will be a productive, if unspectacular, NHL player. Grade: B+
The next report card will feature defenseman Jeff Schulz.
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