When Bob Boughner took over as head coach of the San Jose Sharks in December, he suggested that Brent Burns would shoot less.
“In this new offensive thing that we have, he’s maybe not going to get as many shots,” Boughner said.
It was a remarkable suggestion: Under Peter DeBoer, Burns’s 1,305 total shots led all NHL defensemen from 2015-19. This four-digit figure was 363 more than second-place Roman Josi’s 942.
This also held true at 5-on-5 in this timespan: Burns’s 916 shots were 317 more than runner-up Dougie Hamilton’s 699 and his 2,121 shot attempts were 714 more than second-place Hamilton’s 1,406.
Under DeBoer, the San Jose Sharks’ offense orbited Burns and his one-of-a-kind shot. Burns from the point, Joe Pavelski to the net would be a simplistic but not entirely inaccurate description of the San Jose offense.
So on the surface, it sounded like Boughner was saying that Sharks defensemen, including Burns, were going to shoot less. However, that’s not exactly what happened.