Brent Burns

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Boughner reportedly joins Florida’s coaching candidate list

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Add another name to the growing list of interviewees for the Panthers’ bench boss gig — per TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, Florida has been granted permission to interview Sharks assistant Bob Boughner.

Over the weekend, GM Dale Tallon said he’s spoken with a half dozen candidates for the job, adding he plans on interviewing another half dozen. All the names have not been made available, but two — former Montreal head coach Michel Therrien and Denver University’s Jim Montgomery — have already been identified.

Whatever the case, it appears Tallon is casting a pretty wide net.

Boughner, 46, has a fairly impressive resume. After a lengthy pro career, he immediately transitioned to the coaching side with OHL Windsor, capturing a pair of Memorial Cups. From there, he spent a year as Scott Arniel’s assistant in Columbus before returning to junior, then moved back to the NHL as Peter DeBoer’s assistant in San Jose in 2015.

Appearing in over 600 NHL games as a rugged defenseman, Boughner has worked primarily with the Sharks’ blueline and penalty kill. He’s been praised by a number of the club’s rearguards, including Brent Burns, while veteran Paul Martin said Boughner “definitely has the pedigree” to become a head coach.

Boughner was reportedly a leading candidate for the Colorado job last summer following Patrick Roy’s departure, though the gig eventually went to Jared Bednar.

Burns joins Crosby, McDavid as finalists for 2017 Ted Lindsay Award

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In a lot of ways, the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award feel one in the same,* but that might be what makes differences in voting so interesting.

While the PHWA chose Sergei Bobrovsky alongside Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby as the Hart Trophy finalists, the NHLPA gave Brent Burns the nod over “Bob” while keeping McDavid and Crosby for the Ted Lindsay.

It’s likely that Burns was close to being one of the three finalists for both awards, but a relatively slow finish might have cost him. Really, you can’t go wrong with Burns or Bob, as both were magnificent in 2016-17.

* – Yes, there are differences in wording (essentially “most valuable” for Hart vs. “most outstanding” for Ted Lindsay), but that’s a generally minor distinction.

2017 Hart Trophy finalists: Bobrovsky, Crosby, McDavid

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The NHL released the three finalists for 2017 Hart Trophy on Monday: Sergei Bobrovsky, Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid.

McDavid was the league’s only 100-point scorer in 2016-17, leading the Oilers to their first playoff run in ages. Crosby was dominant from a per-game basis in particular and won the Maurice Richard with 44 goals.

Bobrovsky’s an excellent choice in his own right, depending upon how people view voting goalies as MVPs. His numbers were a clear cut above other netminders as he looks likely to take the Vezina.

As a reminder, the PHWA votes for the award,¬†worded as going to “the player adjudged to
be the most valuable to his team.” (That phrasing can swing some votes at times.)

There were some big names that didn’t make it, including difference-makers like Brent Burns. Even so, these are three excellent choices to represent the most valuable players of 2016-17.

Vlasic joins Canada for Worlds, extending marathon campaign

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Marc-Edouard Vlasic is putting in work this year.

On Friday, Hockey Canada announced that Vlasic — along with Mitch Marner, Brayden Schenn and Chad Johnson — has been added to the 22-player roster for the upcoming World Hockey Championship in France and Germany.

Vlasic’s season started early as a member of Canada’s World Cup of Hockey squad. He appeared in all six games, which included his tournament high TOI (24:04) in final against Team Europe.

From there, the 30-year-old rejoined the Sharks and appeared in 75 contests, averaging 21:14 per evening. He was part of a remarkably durable San Jose defense that saw Brent Burns play all 82 games, while Paul Martin, Brenden Dillon and Justin Braun appeared in 81.

In the playoffs, Vlasic was once again a busy guy. He finished second only to Burns in time on ice (23:16 per) and was often tasked with trying to shut down the Connor McDavid line. The Sharks would eventually bow out to the Oilers in six games.

And Vlasic might have even more to do this summer.

During his end-of-year media availability, Sharks GM Doug Wilson said getting Vlasic signed to an extension prior to September’s training camp was a big priority.

Vlasic’s current deal — a five-year, $21.25 million pact — expires next summer, and carries an average cap hit of $4.25M. Wilson didn’t mince words in describing how good he thinks Vlasic is.

“Vlasic [is] arguably one of the best defensemen in the league,” he said. “Marc-Edouard is still one of the most underrated players in the league in the outside world.”

Burns, Karlsson, Hedman named Norris Trophy finalists

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The three nominees for this year’s Norris Trophy are in.

San Jose’s Brent Burns, Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson and Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman are the finalists, the NHL announced on Friday. The news came as little surprise, as the trio finished as the top three scoring defensemen in the league this year — Burns finished with 76 points (and 29 goals, by far the most from a blueliner), Hedman with 72, and Karlsson with 71.

This marks the fourth time Karlsson has been a finalist, having won the award in 2012 and again in 2015. Burns was a nominee last year, finishing third in voting, while Hedman made the final three for the first time in his career, having never finished higher than seventh.

Most expect this to be a two-horse race, between Burns and Karlsson. The former, as mentioned above, had a terrific offensive campaign, and became the first defenseman to post back-to-back 75-point campaigns since Brian Leetch did it 20 years ago.

Karlsson had an equally stellar year, and got some push for Hart Trophy consideration as league MVP.

“With what he’s done this year, the way he’s done it, I can’t imagine better,” head coach Guy Boucher said, per CBC. “Right now it’s absolutely sublime, it really is.”