Sharks had little choice but to sign Burns and go for it

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It’s a lot of money.

A lot of years, too.

But the alternative for the San Jose Sharks was to let Brent Burns go to free agency this summer, and that’s not something they were willing to do.

Not with a chance to win the franchise’s first Stanley Cup over the next year or two or three.

San Jose signed Burns to an eight-year extension today, with a reported cap hit of $8 million. He’s 31 now, turning 32 in March. So he’ll be 40 by the time his contract expires.

“Brent is one of the most dynamic players in the National Hockey League and we’re very excited to get this deal done,” said GM Doug Wilson. “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.”

The Sharks can worry about the tail end of Burns’ deal down the road. Right now, they’re in their window, and who knows how long it will be open? Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are 37, Joe Pavelski 32. Each year that San Jose’s veteran core gets older, the league gets younger. And faster.

Moreover, the Sharks don’t have a particularly strong group of prospects — mostly because they’ve only drafted once in the top 10 since 2007, the year they traded up to get Logan CoutureIn 2015, after missing the playoffs for the first time in over a decade, they selected Timo Meier with the ninth overall pick. They didn’t get a first-round pick in 2016, after they traded it to Boston for Martin Jones.

That’s not to say there’s only Meier waiting in the wings. Other prospects include Nikolay Goldobin, Mirco Mueller, and Jeremy Roy. And remember, Tomas Hertl is still only 23.

But the Sharks proved today that the next few years is where it’s at for them. Whereas on a rebuilding team, it might have made sense to trade Burns at the deadline, they’re going to keep him, and hope they can finally get over the top.