It has now been just over a year since the Carolina Hurricanes acquired defenseman, Brent Burns, from the San Jose Sharks. The man, the bird, “Burnsie” seems to make an impact wherever he goes but how has his time in Raleigh been?
This 6’5, 230-pound mountain of a man came to Carolina after needing a change of scenery after spending 11 seasons in San Jose. The production and success of the team were strong but the franchise is rebuilding.
The Canes were a ready-made championship contender and in need of a top-pairing, right-handed defenseman. A perfect match seems to have been advertised after the first year of the marriage.
Don Waddell sent Steven Lorentz, Eetu Makiniemi, and a third-round pick in this past draft to the Sharks for the now 38-year-old veteran.
With Burns came a hefty contract worth $5,280,000 a season until the end of the 2024-25 season where he would then be 40 years young.
Still a productive player in San Jose, Burns had 10 goals and 54 points in his final season in California. Always a threat on the power play, it made sense.
One thing was evident from the beginning of the Carolina chapter, Burns was ready to work hard and be a leader in this locker room.
Despite concern over his age, the former 20th overall pick in the 2003 NHL Draft played in all 82 games for the Canes and an additional 15 games in the postseason. Reliable is a word to describe his first season both on and off the ice.
The Ontario native scored 18 goals, with 61 points. This was his most productive season since 2018. Playing on a deeper team allowed his ice time to go down, which definitely made a difference on his wear and tear.
Playing in all situations, Burns thrived under Rod Brind’Amour’s system and always threw the puck at the net. Burns had 255 shots on net, which led all Hurricanes players, edging out Martin Necas.
Like any player, the former Minnesota Wild was not perfect and had moments where his foot speed was not great and a silly penalty or two were taken. Still, this was an extremely successful trade for the Canes.
With two year remaining on his contract it is always in the back of your head how long he can keep up with this level of play. As the Canes seem to be going for it this season, it is perfect timing for this veteran defenseman.
To repeat some of the greatness from last season would be hard but he will be consistent when he is on the ice and the addition of Dmitry Orlov will take a lot of pressure off Burns.