Brent Burns says he would’ve welcomed a reunion with Erik Karlsson.
During the summer, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes were the teams most linked with the San Jose Sharks star defenseman, then on the trade block. Eventually, it was the Penguins who landed the 2023 Norris Trophy winner.
“I don’t know much about that stuff, other than the stuff I’m reading,” Burns said this morning, after the Canes’ morning skate.
When asked if the Carolina front office had checked in with him about his old teammate in teal, Burns offered a coy non-denial, “I don’t know. I can’t remember.”
To some, Carolina’s interest was a head-scratcher. Karlsson is an offense-first right-hander, as are Burns and Tony DeAngelo.
There’s such thing as too much of a good thing, as the San Jose Sharks might have learned from 2018 to 2022, when Karlsson and Burns roamed the blueline. Between them, there was one Conference Finals appearance and one Norris Trophy finalist (Burns), but both in 2019. Otherwise, the team missed the playoffs and both stars saw their production drop.
There were also rumors that Karlsson and Burns didn’t get along.
Burns, however, addressed that unequivocally this morning.
“Some of the stuff [I read], it’s crazy,” he said. “We get along great off the ice.”
San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture also addressed Burns and Karlsson’s relationship in an appearance with the San Jose Hockey Now Podcast in August.
As for on the ice?
When Karlsson was healthy in 2018-19, his first campaign with the Sharks, he was a superstar, as was Burns. Before a persistent groin injury, which would eventually require surgery, began to hamper him in mid-January, Karlsson was on a 27 points in 19 games tear, and San Jose was on a 16-3-0 heater. They looked every bit the best team in the NHL in that stretch.
And Burns posted a career-high 83 points that year.
So while there were a lot of seasons that Burns-Karlsson didn’t work, there was a too easily forgotten spell when it was firing on all cylinders.
“He’s a special player. It would have been nice,” Burns said of the almost-reunion. “Obviously, the year he had being healthy, just having an elite year, he’s gonna help any team.”
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