Revisiting the Brent Burns Trade

On June 24th, 2011, the Minnesota Wild and San Jose Sharks made a blockbuster trade on the 2011 NHL Draft floor.

The Sharks acquired one of the top defensemen in the league, while the Wild got assets that they hoped would quickly turn around their franchise. It was a gamble for Minnesota however, as they were giving up a developed all-star for still developing youngsters.

The Brent Burns Trade

Brent Burns Minnesota Wild
Brent Burns, Minnesota Wild, Mar. 24, 2008 (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Wild traded Brent Burns and a 2012 second round pick to the Sharks in return for Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle, and a 2011 first round pick.

Burns left Minnesota as their top defenceman and one of the best all-around defensemen in the NHL. He came with a hard shot and an ability to both calmly shut down opportunities or destroy his opponent with a body check. He topped 40 points twice with the Wild, with a career high 46 in his last season. He also came with the ability to play both as a forward or a defenceman, although he always played defence with the Wild. The Sharks also acquired a second round pick, which was traded three times eventually to Nashville, who selected Pontus Aberg.

Minnesota got Devin Setoguchi, a first round pick in 2005 who had scored 31, 20 and 21 goals in his last three seasons, respectively. At just 24 years old he looked like a consistent 20-goal scorer who could be a second liner with the Wild. Charlie Coyle was a first round pick the year before and looked destined to become a solid power forward with good offensive production. The Wild also got a first round pick in 2011, which they selected Zack Phillips with.

Where Did the Brent Burns Trade End Up?

Brent Burns has turned into one of San Jose’s top players since arriving in NorCal, putting up solid numbers every season and setting a career high in 2018-19 with 83 points. He won the Norris Trophy in 2017, and has made the NHL All-Star Game six times. In 2017 he signed an 8-year, $64 million contract that keeps him in the teal and white until 2025.

Brent Burns - Sharks
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks, Oct. 9, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Devin Setoguchi played two years in Minnesota, scoring 32 goals and 31 assists in 117 games. He failed to continue to develop into the player they expected him to become, and actually seemed to regress. The Wild then traded him to Winnipeg in exchange for a 2014 second round pick, which was later traded to Buffalo in the Matt Moulson trade and then to Washington, who finally selected goalie Vitek Vanecek. Setoguchi bounced around the NHL, AHL and Europe before finally calling it a career in 2018.

Charlie Coyle turned into a solid third line, power forward who was continually improving his offence with the Wild. He was traded to the Boston Bruins late in the 2018-19 season, where he has continued to play the same way, putting up 16 goals and 21 assists during the shortened 2019-20 season.

Who Won the Brent Burns Trade?

Although both teams have found their own success from this trade, I’d have to give the edge to the San Jose Sharks. Burns has gone on to further improve his offensive game, setting career bests in points twice already and also offering the Sharks some insurance with his availability on the blue line and up front. Meanwhile, Charlie Coyle hasn’t been able to offer quite as much scoring as was expected from him, but he has become a decent power forward. Although it’s a very slight edge, the Sharks came out on top of this Brent Burns trade.