The Carolina Hurricanes have acquired defenseman Brent Burns and Lane Pederson from the San Jose Sharks for goaltending prospect Eetu Makiniemi and a conditional 3rd-round pick in 2023. The Sharks will also be retaining 33 percent of Burns’ contract.
For the Sharks, moving on from Burns was a necessary evil. The franchise has been stuck in the mud in recent years, due in part to their big contracts for veteran players that prevented them from making moves to improve the team. These contracts may have been worthwhile at the time, but injury has slowed down many of the players from their former glory.
Burns is a perfect example of this. While he was the 2017 Norris Winner, he has struggled to live up to those lofty expectations after he signed an eight-year, $8 million per year contract in 2016. He was 31 at the time of the signing, and injury has taken its toll on his play.
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To put it simply, he isn’t going to be that top-end Norris winner anymore, and even if he was, the Sharks weren’t in a place to properly utilize his talent. They are needing to rebuild under new general manager Mike Grier, and trading Burns while he still had value is a smart move. This will give him some cap space and resources to work with going forward without having to pay another team to take on his contract should he regress.
Hurricanes See Future With Burns on Their Blue Line
Despite this sounding a bit down on Burns, there’s no doubt that he is still a fantastic offensive defenseman. He has one of the best shots in the game, and when he is playing well, there are few players that can keep up with him. While he is 36, he is coming off a complete 82-game season for the Sharks, where he posted 54 points.
If you’re the Hurricanes, this is an extremely appealing situation to find yourself in. They already have one of the best defensive corps in the league led by Jaccob Slavin, which means Burns doesn’t have to be the man on defense. He can take on a reduced role that focuses on maximizing his offensive potential and letting his teammates cover for his defensive gaps.
Also, with the trade of Tony DeAngelo at the draft, the Hurricanes needed to fill a hole in their top-four with an offensively gifted defenseman who could run a powerplay. There are few better in the NHL at this than Burns, and he could flourish once again in this role. So, while it is a big acquisition in terms of cap space, this is a move that could pay dividends for both Carolina and Burns.
Eugene Helfrick is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer who is actually from Tampa Bay. He has written about the Lightning for six years, covering everything from their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, to their crushing first-round exit in 2019, to their redemption in the bubble in 2020. While he is happy to talk about just about anything from cows to cars to video games, hockey will always remain one of his favorite pastimes.