The Brent Burns era of the San Jose Sharks is officially over as the long-time Sharks defenseman was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes yesterday. Burns was dealt, along with Lane Pederson, for Steven Lorentz, Eetu Makiniemi, and a 2023 third-round pick. San Jose also retained 34 percent of Burns’s cap hit over the next three years.
Speaking with the media on Wednesday afternoon, Burns had some thoughts for Sharks territory.
In some ways, this trade has been a long time coming, even though, according to Burns, it came together quickly. San Jose has missed the playoffs for three straight years and the 37-year-old Burns won’t have that many more kicks at the can for a Stanley Cup.
It was just time, and Burns couldn’t find a better partner to work with at this career crossroads than new San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier and interim Sharks GM Joe Will.
“I think as a former player, he knows what I’m going through. He’s coming to a new team to make his mark and he was great. He was very supportive of me. We had a great talk just about where I am in my career and he’s been very open and honest with us,” Burns said. “I will say, Joe Will was great with me too. I think as the year was going on, he’s been great with our team and what we were going through.”
He leaves with a heavy heart, though. When asked about a potential pairing with star shutdown defenseman Jaccob Slavin, Burns couldn’t help but talk about his chemistry with his last defensive partner.
“I had a great thing with a young guy in San Jose, Mario Ferraro, who is an up-and-coming guy and just a blast off the ice,” he said. “On the ice, it was an awesome time playing with him, and just developing that is, I think, some of the best stuff in hockey, when you start to develop chemistry with somebody and start to read off each other so easy.”
In fact, Ferraro is one of the few Sharks that Burns was able to talk to yesterday.
“This kind of happened pretty quick. I’ve been driving a 45-foot rig [all day]. So the communication hasn’t been very easy,” he said, laughing. “But yeah, I made some calls today with some guys and it’s tough. I think we’ve seen a lot of our guys leave every year. We’ve had guys that have left in the last couple years that have meant a lot to us. That were our mentors coming through and made a lot of us the players that we are today.”
Burns is joining the exodus of standard-bearing Sharks who have left recently: Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Doug Wilson, Patrick Marleau, Justin Braun, Martin Jones, to name some.
Even this past season, Burns liked the group that included long-time teammates Logan Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
“I think we had a we had a great group last year,” he said. “We didn’t do what we wanted to obviously, but the guys in the room, we played hard for each other every night.”
But now, it’s time for Burns to look forward. He’s won a Norris Trophy, he’s a likely Hall of Famer, but still doesn’t have a Stanley Cup on his resume. And while time is not on the 37-year-old’s side, 1,251 games into his NHL career, he knows he can still make an impact.
“I think I get in better shape every year. So I know I’m in the back nine. I know I’m an older guy. I played for a long time, but I feel great. I still feel very competitive,” he said. “I know I can contribute at a high level and I think it’s just one of those things that is a great thing for both [me and the Sharks].”
In some ways, the 37-year-old will go into camp this fall, feeling a little like he did when he was 26. The last time Burns was traded was Jun. 2011, when the Minnesota Wild sent him to San Jose.
“That’s one of the things that I think for me is really exciting. That those nerves, they create so much energy and excitement,” he said.
“There’s a sadness. A lot of looking back,” he added, “but a huge rush of excitement going to Carolina.”
Burns will leave the San Jose Sharks as the highest-scoring defenseman in franchise history and one of its most notable personalities. And he’s excited to go from one underappreciated hockey town to another:
“It’s always a place that when you play there, it’s crazy. I was always a guy that would arrive to games early, and there’s people out there tailgating. I think it’s just such a special place and a loud building,” Burns said of Carolina. “I mean, there’s a lot of similarities in that with San Jose. People don’t realize how great of a hockey town it is.”
Or was, in the case of San Jose.
Sheng’s Travel Fund
Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.