Brent Burns Extension a No-Brainer for the San Jose Sharks

Nov 15, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; San Jose Sharks defensemen Brent Burns (88) looks on before a face off against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the San Jose Sharks 1-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 15, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; San Jose Sharks defensemen Brent Burns (88) looks on before a face off against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the San Jose Sharks 1-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /

The San Jose Sharks locked up their most dynamic player in recent years, signing Brent Burns to an eight-year extension until the 2024-25 season.

The San Jose Sharks took no chances by locking up Brent Burns with an eight-year extension worth $64 million. With Burns in the fold, San Jose’s most dynamic player will bridge the transition between current and new players on the roster.

Without a doubt, the acquisition of Burns from the Minnesota Wild back in 2011 made a big impact. Despite having to give up Devin Setoguchi, who had signed an extension days before the trade, Charlie Coyle and a draft pick, the price was worth the risk. Primarily, Doug Wilson made the trade in search of improving the blue line. Not only did Burns fit the criteria but also provided an offensive threat which San Jose had lacked from a defenseman.

Yes, Dan Boyle played a huge role quarterbacking the Sharks power play with his puck-moving capabilities. However, pairing Burns with Boyle during power plays allowed for a different dynamic, which caused problems for opponents. Burns was well suited to play the forward position, serving as a threat around the net or at the point for a one-timer to light the lamp.

A debate still goes on about how to utilize Burns to get maximum production. Under former Sharks head coach Todd McLellan, Burns was seen playing both forward and defense positions. No matter his role, Burns was comfortable in any situation as he had the tools to both shoot and block pucks.

Although currently listed as a defenseman, Burns is pretty much a hybrid of a forward and a defenseman. He can move around freely in the offensive zone to get scoring chances or decoy to set up a teammate. No matter his defense partner, he has faith Burns can pinch in pucks deep offensively and can get back on defense when a play breaks down.

Since arriving, Burns has become a fan favorite among Sharks fans. His ever-growing hair and beard have fans, teammates, and management wondering if he will turn into Chewbacca from the Star Wars Franchise in the coming years. His off-ice personality makes him popular from chowing down pizza in post-game interviews or the Harry Potter tattoo on his back.

The eight-year extension was the first time Wilson signed a player to such a long deal. Previous deals have been only five years in length. Wilson was never in favor of long deals which kept the team from acquiring big name free agents over the years. With the high price tags, salary cap issues would have put the Sharks in a difficult roster situation come season’s start.

However, Burns is the perfect candidate for a player still in his prime with no signs of slowing down. With current and upcoming prospects ready to join the lineup, centering a team around Burns will keep him a dynamic player.

Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are the two remaining big pieces slated for free agency after the season. Thornton most likely will return while Marleau may see his time in teal up. The Sharks are finally in position again where prospects from the San Jose Barracuda are ready to play in the NHL.

Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Justin Braun were the previous wave of prospects making an impact currently. Since their arrivals, draft picks were traded away for players during playoff drives. Those ventures never produced results as San Jose made early playoff exits. Now that Wilson replenished the farm system in recent years, prospects are proving themselves ready for the next level.

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Look for Burns to take a leadership role when the transition takes place in the coming years. Martin Jones is the Sharks undisputed goaltender and will be the next player signing a long-term extension. With prospects, ready to play big minutes, Burns can show players his free-spirited style with physicality and speed.

After finishing third last season in the Norris Trophy voting for best defenseman, Burns got right back to work from opening faceoff. He currently leads all defenseman in scoring with seven goals and nine assists. Since breaking in with the Wild, Burns has evolved his game, making him a threat any time he steps onto the ice. No matter who he is with, his teammates are glad to have him in teal.

Make no mistake, this was a good deal for the Sharks who look to stay competitive when aging veterans depart. Burns could have garnered more money elsewhere, but staying in San Jose shows his commitment to helping the team win a Stanley Cup. The Thornton trade may have been a franchise-changing move, but Burns has been the most consistent producer since arriving in San Jose.

Proof has been seen this season where he has shown grit and determination to be a difference maker. This was seen on the recent road trip against Florida. Down 2-0, Burns made a spectacular individual effort with a power move to the net. He out-muscled Panthers defenseman Jason Demers, former Shark, to the net putting a shot by goaltender James Reimer, another former Shark. The late first-period goal sparked a momentum change as San Jose came back to win 4-2.

Burns may be 40 when the deal expires after the 2024-25 but do not expect his consistent play to drop. Even if his numbers drop throughout the years, he will continue to make constant efforts in hopes of lifting the Stanley Cup for Sharks’ fans. A limited no-trade clause is also part of the deal.

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The Wookiee will remain in teal looking to cause havoc amongst opponents on a consistent basis. Fans can feel relieved as his jersey will be a favorite to wear at the Shark Tank for the next eight years. Burns will no doubt bridge the gap when the new wave of players takes center stage.