Joe Yerdon

Sharks keeping Burns at forward next season

Brent Burns won’t be returning to the blue line anytime soon.

Sharks GM Doug Wilson says the team will keep the converted defenseman up front next season. As Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea.com shares, it’s as much about the current defense as it is Burns’ skill as a forward.

“We feel very strong how our defense is constructed and how we expect them to continue to grow,” the general manager said. “How we want to play up front and go after people and make them defend, Burnzie just fits perfect. He still will be able to play the point on the power play and we can utilize his big shot, but we saw how good he can be and how he can impact games as a forward.

“I think it’s only going to get better if he trains specifically for that this summer, giving him that clarity and focus. I think he is a dominant power forward in this league.”

Burns’ move up front seemed to awaken the Sharks forwards last season as the team tore it up late in the year. He made it all worthwhile scoring nine goals and adding 11 assists last season.

Toronto newspaper compares Clarkson to Wendel Clark

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Many fans in Toronto didn’t go crazy for the big contract the Maple Leafs signed David Clarkson to during yesterday’s first day of free agency. The Toronto Sun, however, couldn’t resist comparing Clarkson to Leafs legend Wendel Clark.

Check out the front page lauding of the signing and the comparisons made between Clarkson and Clark. Also soak in the handlebar mustache and mullet they slapped on Clarkson’s photo to make him look more Wendel-like.

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Wendel Clarkson is a pretty great mash-up.

Clarkson’s game is aggressive and he’ll likely blend into Randy Carlyle’s system without a problem. Comparing him to a player that’s so beloved like Clark is, however, just heaps even more pressure on him to perform.

And you thought signing a monster contract would be the part that puts the most pressure to perform. The legend of Wendel is not to be messed with.

Report: Stars believe they’re out of Lecavalier hunt

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Vincent Lecavalier has apparently eliminated another team from contention for his services.

TSN’s Aaron Ward reports Dallas believes it is no longer in contention for the former Lightning captain. Earlier, it was reported the Detroit Red Wings were out of the mix as well.

Who’s left now?

According to ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun, it’s down to Montreal and Boston.

LeBrun says if Lecavalier wants to go to Montreal and put up with the media insanity, the team will wind up getting him for less than other teams are offering.

If the Habs aren’t willing to commit to the years and money, however, the Bruins could wind up landing him. Other teams like Philadelphia, Toronto, and perhaps even Washington could be in the mix.

Rangers and Habs swap prospects

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Trades aren’t always about the big names, sometimes it’s the prospects that change places.

The New York Rangers have traded forward Christian Thomas to the Montreal Canadiens for forward Danny Kristo.

Thomas played one game with New York last season and had no points. He spent most of last season with the Connecticut Whale in the AHL and did well in his first professional season scoring 19 goals with 16 assists.

As a 5′ 9″ 170-pound forward, he won’t do much to make the jokes about small forwards in Montreal go away. Thomas was a second-round pick by New York in 2010.

Kristo, meanwhile, had a big season in his senior year at the University of North Dakota finishing tied for second in the nation in points with 52. He was also second in the country in goals scored with 26 and was a Hobey Baker Top 10 finalist. At 5’11” 185, he’s a slick, speedy winger with an obvious knack for the net.

Kristo helped Team USA’s World Junior team win gold in 2010 and was on the bronze medal-winning World Championships team this year. He was a second-round pick by Montreal in 2008.

Blue Jackets re-sign Blake Comeau to a one-year deal

Blake Comeau isn’t going anywhere in free agency this summer.

Columbus announced they’ve re-signed the veteran forward to a one-year deal. Comeau was picked up at the trade deadline by the Jackets from Calgary for a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft. Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports the deal is worth $1 million.

Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen is a fan of his game.

“Blake is a dependable two-way forward who combines physical play with ability in the offensive zone,” said Kekalainen. “We liked what we saw from him at the end of last season as he fit in very well with our team and we’re pleased to have signed him to this extension.”

In the nine games he played with Columbus, Comeau had two goals and three assists. The 33 games previous to that with Calgary saw him tally four goals and three assists. Safe to say things worked out pretty well for the 27 year-old in Ohio.