|This Jan. 30, 2010, file photo shows Minnesota Wild defenseman Brent Burns skating against the San Jose Sharks during the first period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif. The Sharks have signed All-Star defenseman Brent Burns to a five-year contract extension. The Sharks announced the deal Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. They acquired Burns from Minnesota during the draft in June for a package |
San Jose has long had the reputation as a place players want to be. Joe Thornton
and Patrick Marleau
have bypassed unrestricted free agent for an opportunity to win every year, while enjoying the benefits of California’s weather.
has now made a similar commitment without even playing one game for the Sharks. It’s an example of how the strength of the team’s reputation around the National Hockey League.
“I think for me, I just want to play hockey,” Burns said. “I know there’s a business side of it with one year left on a contract. When the trade went through, (we) went down to San Jose and it was awesome. We had a great time in the city and the organization was really unbelievable in how they treated us. For our family, it made getting traded a lot easier. Everything was first class.”
Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson appreciates how Burns felt about the Sharks, but he liked what he saw in Burns.
“I think it reveals his character and the type of person he is,” Wilson said of Burns committing to his new teammates. “He deserves a huge compliment for doing this. I think next summer as a UFA would have been very kind to him, not only in dollars, but structure. We wanted him to get to know us. He knew our coaches in Matt Shaw and Todd McLellan from before (with Minnesota). Coming out here, seeing our facilities, meeting our owners and the other players (helped) led to this.”
|Team Lidstrom's Brent Burns, holds his daughter Peyton following hockey's NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011 in Raleigh, N.C. Team Lidstrom defeated Team Staal 11-10. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome) |
The Sharks can present the entire package, but Burns is the only one who could sign on the dotted line.
“Ultimately it was his decision and he and his wife made the commitment to us,” Wilson said. “We really appreciate it. He deserves all the credit, he and his agent Ron Salcer.”
The ground work for the five-year extension, estimated around $5.76 million per year, was laid on that initial trip.
“To have a chance to start talking about signing the extension, it was really a no-brainer for us,” Burns said. “We have a little bit of security for our family and I can concentrate on playing hockey, training and getting ready for the year.”
Burns was as enthusiastic about the signing and he’s not one to wait when he has something he likes in his sights.
“I don’t have to worry about (the contract) any more for the next six years and can concentrate on winning, being on a great team and being a great teammate,” Burns said. “I think that’s important to me.”
It may seem like Burns made a quick decision, but in essence, he’s had a test drive with the Sharks four times a year while skating for the Wild. The visit following his trade only cemented what he had heard. Then when he met his future teammates, it was another reason to fall for the Sharks.
“From playing against them, it’s never an easy game,” Burns said. “They have a lot of skilled guys and a lot of them are big. It’s always been a tough team to play against. There are a lot of great players on that team and hopefully I can come in and mesh well with all the guys on-and-off the ice and help take them to the next level and win.
“I talked to Thornton the night I got traded,” Burns added. “When I got down there, I worked out with Marleau and I went to (Dan) Boyle’s house. I met his family. Most of the time with hockey guys, everyone’s a good guy and it’s pretty easy to mesh in. They made this as easy as possible for us.”
Wilson acknowledged that getting the extension was a key to the trade.
“It was a huge part, I’ll be honest with you,” Wilson said. “We gave up some very good players to get him. The deal came together very quickly. To get this type of defenseman, who’s just entering his prime at the age of 26, we knew we had to move quickly and we had to be aggressive. There was a level of risk with it. You saw what happened this summer with some of the D-men getting the contracts they did.”
Now all that’s left is to begin competing with his new team, but training camp is still more than month away.
“I’ve been skating for a while now,” Burns said. “Summer hockey is fun, but as it starts getting closer to the year, your start getting fired up. It’s coming quick, but not quick enough.”