Sharks general manager Doug Wilson doesn’t comment on contract negotiations, and Burns’ agent is also keeping mum with one week to go until the start of the regular season, although there have been talks between the two sides according to a source.
Burns, though, painted a slightly hazier picture than [Sharks head coach Peter] DeBoer. Here’s the back-and-forth with him after Thursday’s skate:
You’re going into the last year of your deal here, does that weigh on your mind at all?
Burns: “No, I don’t really think about it, to be honest.”
Are you involved in the process?
Burns: “Yeah. Pretty involved.”
Burns, 31, is heading into the last of a five-year, $28.8 million deal with a $5.76M average annual cap hit. He’ll undoubtedly get a raise with his new contract, as he’s really come into his own over the last few seasons.
Especially last season.
Burns scored a career-high 27 goals and 75 points in ’15-16, and was named a Norris finalist for the first time. He also racked up 24 points in 24 playoff games, playing a huge role in San Jose’s first-ever Stanley Cup Final appearance.
That spring-boarded Burns onto Team Canada at the World Cup, where he finished with three points in six games.
In terms of comparables, one would think Burns could haul in Dustin Byfuglien money — by that we mean the five-year, $38 million pact Big Buff signed with the Jets this past spring. That deal carries an average annual value of $7.6 million, making Byfuglien one of the highest-paid rearguards in the NHL.
Of course, we have no idea if Burns is angling for that kind of money — but one thing is certain. Both he and the Sharks want to get the deal done sooner rather than later because, as a pending UFA, the distraction of going without a contract can be intense.