You can call Brent Burns the most interesting person in hockey.
So, of course, his contract status with the San Jose Sharks is of considerable interest around the league, but especially for fans of that team.
In the final year of his current contract and a pending unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, Burns and the Sharks made significant progress in their latest contract talks, per hockey insider Pierre LeBrun on Tuesday.
Shortly after that surfaced, Burns and the Sharks agreed to an eight-year deal, worth a reported average annual value of about $8 million. That’s a significant raise.
“Brent is one the most dynamic players in the National Hockey League and we’re very excited to get this deal done,” said Sharks GM Doug Wilson in a statement. “He has worked extremely hard to be an elite defenseman and at six-foot-five, 230-pounds, his abilities on this ice are unique and rare.”
That’s also quite a lengthy commitment to a defenseman — as terrific a player as Burns is right now — that will turn 32 years old in March. That’s definitely something to keep in mind down the road.
His current contract is a five-year deal worth $28.8 million.
You can understand why the Sharks would want to keep Burns.
In addition to having one of the most fascinating off-ice personalities, he’s one of the most dynamic players — not just defensemen — in the league. He was up for the Norris Trophy last season, along with Erik Karlsson of the Senators and Drew Doughty of the Kings.
Going beyond the facial hair, Burns has been a beast over the years for the Sharks. He scored 27 goals last season on defense, and recorded 75 points. Impressive stuff, but he took that to a different level in the playoffs, averaging a point per game in 24 contests as the Sharks made it to the Stanley Cup Final.
He has seven goals and 16 points in 19 games this season. After getting so close to the ultimate goal last season, the Sharks should still be considered in that window to take a run at the championship.
“We had a special year, last year, and it’s exciting to build on that,” Burns told reporters.
“When you get that taste of winning and how special it is … this is a hard league. I say it a lot. Every night’s going to be tough. Great teams. When you have a special group and you put yourself in that chance to fight for it every year, that’s what it’s about.”