SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Sharks added some toughness by signing forward Adam Burish to a four-year, $7.4 million contract.
General manager Doug Wilson and coach Todd McLellan called Burish immediately when the free agency period opened Sunday morning, and they quickly got their man.
“He’s the type of guy you hate to play against,” Wilson said. “You want him on your side. He doesn’t care about anything other than winning.”
Burish, 29, is a physical forward who played mostly on the fourth line in Dallas last season. He had six goals, 13 assists, 76 penalty minutes and a plus-6 rating.
Burish has 25 goals and 29 assists with 490 penalty minutes in 297 career games. He played his first four seasons in Chicago, winning the Stanley Cup in 2010, before spending the last two years with the Stars, where he missed the playoffs.
“I miss that suffering, that kind of pain, playing tired, playing hurt,” he said. “As crazy as that sounds, I miss that. I want to figure out how to win a Stanley Cup again. San Jose, to me, should be a team competing for the Stanley Cup every year.”
The Sharks are coming off a disappointing season when they were knocked out by St. Louis in five games in the first round as a No. 7 seed in a major step backward after two straight trips to the Western Conference final.
Wilson said last month the major change he wanted was to go from being “passive and reactive” to “aggressive and proactive.” He believed many problems stemmed from an ineffective penalty killing unit that left players hesitant to be physical out of a fear of allowing a power-play goal.
That has never been a problem for Burish, a physical enforcer who has 26 major penalties in his career. Burish also has experience killing penalties.
The Sharks had the second-worst penalty-kill unit during the regular season and then allowed six goals in 18 power-play chances in five games against the Blues.
“They have it all there,” Burish said. “That’s one reason I went there. They have a deep team, an experienced team. They have guys who have won every possible trophy they can win. I want to help them win that Stanley Cup. Winning a Stanley Cup is like a sick drug. You want more and more of it. Hopefully I can bring that enthusiasm and excitement and passion and experience of winning the Stanley Cup.”
Burish is a close friend of Sharks forward Joe Pavelski, his former linemate at the University of Wisconsin, and also played in Chicago with San Jose goalie Antti Niemi and forward Marty Havlat.
Burish texted Pavelski soon after agreeing to the deal, telling him, “Let’s go win a Cup.”
“He’s going be one of the leaders on the PK,” Pavelski said. “He won’t let anybody take a night off. That’s the biggest thing. You have to work every night and day to get better and he brings that attitude, which is great.”
San Jose got a head start on the free agency period last month when the Sharks traded with Detroit for the rights to defenceman Brad Stuart and signed him to a $10.8 million, three-year deal to keep him off the market.
The Sharks had seven players from their final roster who became free agents Sunday, including forward Torrey Mitchell, who signed a three-year deal with Minnesota. Forwards Daniel Winnik, Dominic Moore, Brad Winchester and Benn Ferriero, and defencemen Colin White and Jim Vandermeer are also free agents.