CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2012-13 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every day in alphabetical order. Today: Tomas Kundratek
Position: Right Defense
Ht/Wt: 6-2, 210
Penalty Minutes: 8
Average Ice Time: 16:08
Contract Status: Restricted Free Agent [$816,666 cap hit in 2012-13]
Strengths: A smooth-skating defenseman acquired from the Rangers midway through the 2011-12 season, Kundratek stepped in for injured defenseman Jack Hillen in the second game of the season and took regular shifts with the Caps for 25 straight games before suffering a leg injury on March 14 that essentially ended his time with the Caps. Kundratek possesses a hard, accurate shot that can be used on the power play and he has excellent vision.
Weaknesses: If not for his injury, it’s hard to say how long Kundratek would have remained in the Caps’ lineup. He was averaging more than 20 minutes a game at the time of his injury. Despite his efficiency moving the puck, Kundratek struggled under pressure in his own end and lacked the physical strength to win one-on-one battles along the wall and in front of the net.
Memorable Moment: It’s easy to remember Eric Fehr’s overtime thriller to complete a four-goal comeback against the Boston Bruins on March 5, but that was also the most productive night of Kundratek’s NHL career. He netted his first NHL goal to draw the Caps within 3-2 in the second period and picked up an assist on Fehr’s game-winner. “Fans were pushing us forward,” Kundrtatek told reporters after the game. “It was unreal. It was a great crowd.”
2013-14 Expectations: With the emergence of right-handed shooting defenseman Steve Oleksy and the departure of right-handed shooting veteran Tom Poti it’s hard to pinpoint where Kundratek fits into the defensive mix next season. He’s currently fourth on the depth chart among righties and likely would be the first callup in the event a right-handed shooter [Mike Green, John Carlson, Oleksy] is injured. Look for the Caps to re-sign Kundratek to a two-way contract this summer.