Burns’ Value to the Sharks Is Clear

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun sent out a pair of tweets that quickly spread in the San Jose Sharks Twitterverse. LeBrun reported that the Sharks and All-Star defenseman Brent Burns are working on a contract extension and that a lot of the heavy lifted may be completed. LeBrun was spot on as the Sharks and their All-Star defenseman signed an eight-year, $64 million contract extension. All this transpired in less than two hours.

Burns plays a dangerous game at times, and some detractors might point to leading the league in giveaways. But looking at the company at the top of that list, it is the elite puck movers that coaches know that for less than two turnovers a game, an exponentially higher number of pucks are carried up ice, kept in the zone and shot on net. In fact, Burns leads the NHL in shots on goal, leads all defensemen in points with 16, and is tied for the lead in goal scoring (with Montreal’s Shea Weber) by rearguards with seven markers.

His hair fashion and lifestyle beard also enjoys a bit of notoriety as well.

Brass Tacks: How Much for The Wookiee?

Looking at Burns’ current contract which he signed after coming to San Jose, his cap hit of $5.76 million currently ranks 17th among NHL defensemen. The highest annual average value (AAV) contract among defenders belongs to P.K. Subban at $9 million, and Burns now finds himself as the second highest paid defender in terms of AAV.

[miptheme_quote author=”General Manager Doug Wilson via Official Team Press Release ” style=”boxquote text-right”]Brent is one the most dynamic players in the National Hockey League and we’re very excited to get this deal done. He has worked extremely hard to be an elite defenseman and at six-foot-five, 230-pounds, his abilities on this ice are unique and rare. I also want to thank Hasso Plattner and our entire ownership group for their commitment to our franchise and the fans in San Jose by stepping forward and making this commitment to Brent.[/miptheme_quote]

Interestingly, this is the first time the Sharks have handed out a max-term contract. But Burns, who turns 32 this coming March, certainly is worthy of the exception. The extension is reported to have a number of other bells and whistles, like a lockout protection during the 2020-21 season and solid signing bonuses as well, starting with a $7 million bonus ahead of the 2017-18 campaign.

Contract Still Protects Sharks

The Sharks still have Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau on the roster playing key roles at 37, so the eight-year term for one of the best defensemen in the world seems reasonable looking at the current contracts handed out by general manager Doug Wilson. While it is the first max-term deal in Sharks history, it has been reported that a limited no-trade clause has been included. The contract pays out a reasonable $5 million each of the final two years. Should anything happen that causes Burns or the Sharks to decide to part ways, that could help a rebuilding team get to the cap floor, not unlike what the Arizona Coyotes have done this year.

Bottom line: Wilson made the deal that had to be done to keep perhaps the most important player currently wearing teal in Northern California.