On the surface, one might ask, why would the San Jose Sharks leave their top time-on-ice per game player exposed in a draft that could see a team pick him up for absolutely nothing? It doesn’t make a lot of sense. But, according to a couple of scribes at The Athletic, that’s exactly what might happen with Brent Burns in a couple of months.
Burns has been at or near the top of NHL time on ice this season (currently sits at 26:19 per game). He’s got 27 points in 48 games and he’s one of the lone bright spots on a Sharks’ roster that is going through some potentially serious changes. On paper, he seems like the constant you hang onto and let him retire in a Sharks jersey.
That said, Eric Duhatschek and Ryan S. Clark of The Athetlic argue that the Sharks may look to shed payroll this offseason and because two other defensemen, who are having far less of an impact, have no-move protection, the Sharks may have little option but to let Burns go.
Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, have full no-move protection and are unlikely to waive it. Internally, it’s a decision the Sharks will need to wrestle over and if they do make Burns available, then it’ll be up to Seattle to decide if it wants to add a 36-year-old, earning $8 million until 2025.
Would Seattle Jump For Burns?
As the article went through the list of players Seattle might take from the other teams in the expansion draft, Burns was one of the few veterans listed. That’s important to remember as the Kraken try to put together a team of players, many of whom will have different roles.
One of the other veterans listed was Matt Dumba and that could be an intriguing pair for the Kraken to kick off their first official season.
They add that Burns won’t just be important on the ice. They write, “Burns has such a big, pleasing personality and could help improve their dressing room culture. The same one that contributed to Vegas (and the Golden Misfits) having a record-setting inaugural year.”
Of that massive cap hit Burns takes up, how much is valued on what he does playing over 26 minutes per night versus how much of his value comes in being the team’s obvious first captain, a public leader and a draw for fans who know exactly what type of player the Kraken are adding?
It’s a lot of money, and it’s certainly not a given, but it will be interesting to see how the Kraken rate what’s important.
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