Brent Burns’ massive new contract with the Sharks will take him to age 40, and keep the Sharks in the Stanley Cup hunt.
The San Jose Sharks have locked up all-star defenseman Brent Burns before he could hit the open market.
According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, it’s an eight-year deal worth $64 million, with an AAV of $8 million. But LeBrun also notes the contract is front loaded and includes a limited no-trade clause. LeBrun reported Burns will earn $54 million in the first six years of the deal, then $5 million of actual salary for the final two.
Burns deal is front loaded and includes signing bonuses. Does NOT include no-move but does have limited no-trade
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) November 22, 2016
Burns, a finalist for the Norris Trophy last year, was set to become an unrestricted free agent in July. Had he hit free agency he would have been by far the most sought-after player on the market in what is a fairly weak field. The honor of top free agent now likely belongs to Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop.
Instead, Burns, 31, will in all likelihood finish his career in San Jose, where he has blossomed into one of the best defensemen in the league since being acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Wild in 2011. Burns led all defensemen in goals last season with 27, and was second only to Erik Karlsson in points with 75. He has seven goals in 19 games so far this season, and is on pace to eclipse last year’s goal total.
The deal should also help keep the Sharks among the Western Conference contenders for a few years. The Sharks are by no means a young team, with the likes of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau in their late 30s and due to become UFAs in July. But with Burns in the fold, along with forwads Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture, defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and goalie Martin Jones all locked up until 2018, their Stanley Cup window remains very much open for another couple years.
And even though the contract will take Burns until his age-40 season, the limited no-trade clause, reported to be a three-team trade list, rather than a firm no-move and low actual-dollars toward the end should make him easier to move, should it come to that for Sharks GM Doug Wilson.
Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston also reported that the contract includes an $8 million bonus in 2020-21, also known as lockout protection.
Burns has 439 career points in 816 games in 12-plus seasons with the Wild and Sharks. He has been an all-star in each of the last two seasons, as well as in 2007-08 with the Wild. He was a first-round draft pick, 20th overall, in 2003.