Defenseman Brent Burns can't become an unrestricted free agent until July 1, 2017, but the San Jose Sharks already have begun working on a new contract for him, as well as pending restricted free agent Tomas Hertl.
"We don't talk really about our contract negotiations, but I did touch base and we have started the process with both those players," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson told ESPN.com on Saturday.
Burns, 31, was third in 2016 Norris Trophy voting behind winner Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings and runner-up Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators. Burns' 24 points in 24 Stanley Cup Playoff games were second on the Sharks (Logan Couture, 30), helping them reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in their 25-year history before losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.
Burns is entering the final season of a five-year, $28 million contract, according to generalfanager.com. He had 27 goals and 75 points playing in all 82 games for the Sharks this season, and has 240 points in 344 games in five seasons since San Jose acquired him from the Minnesota Wild at the 2011 NHL Draft.
Hertl, 22, can become an RFA on July 1 after he had NHL career highs of 21 goals and 46 points this season. He scored six goals and had five assists in 20 playoff games, missing the Sharks' last four postseason games with a right-knee injury.
Hertl has 49 goals and 102 points in 200 NHL games, all with San Jose.