In Brent Burns’ first full season at forward, he added 22 goals and 26 assists for a total of 48 points while playing 69 games.
He missed a big chunk at the beginning of the season due to a concussion (we believe it was a concussion, but management wouldn’t really say) but when he came back, he was the same dominant force he was before the injury.
Not only was he a solid goal scorer, he was also a fantastic defensive forward with a +26 on the season. In the playoffs though, he only had three points and was a -5 in the seven game series against the LA Kings.
When Doug Wilson turned Brent Burns into a forward last year, I made the declaration that Burns, with a full 82 game season, would be a 30-goal scorer for the San Jose Sharks.
That is how dominant he was at forward. He had 22 goals in 69 games, so he’d need eight goals in 13 games to prove me right. Would he have done it? Maybe, but he also might not have.
Regardless, it doesn’t change the fact that he was a great forward, and he and Joe Thornton combine for one of the most dominant pairings. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again now: you could put any player on a line with Thornton and Burns, and they will put up good results. Joe Pavelski had a 40-goal season, Tomas Hertl became a stud basically overnight, and last year they made TJ Galiardi look like a very good forward for the team, which was something we didn’t see the first half of last year.
Brent Burns is also a stud defensively. Considering he played his entire career before coming to San Jose as a defenseman, he had a great defensive mind on what he needed to do to take the pressure of his fellow defensemen, and he could get in on the forecheck like it was nobody’s business.
Brent Burns is what we call a “streaky” player.
When he’s on, he is on. He’s throwing the body around, he’s scoring at will, he’s terrifying goalies and defenseman with his rocket shot. The only problem is that when he is off, the team definitely notices. There are times throughout the year where he is slow and doesn’t always make the right decision. Sometimes he just can’t hit the net, or isn’t in the right position. I was at one of those games earlier against the Capitals in DC, and he didn’t play very well and because of that, neither did Thornton or Pavelski.
But the absolute biggest negative for Burns is the fact that this is the last time we will see him at forward. Yes, I know I just got finished saying that he is streaky and that sometimes he’s on and sometimes he’s off. But apparently, Doug Wilson forgot what it was like when he is on.
To “help” the team next year, Wilson is moving Brent Burns back to defensemen. His reasoning? Burns could become for the Sharks what Subban is to the Canadiens.
And now, a mini rant about Doug Wilson:
Doug Wilson, that is the most idiotic reasoning I have ever heard in my life. You’re willing to break up one of the best line pairings on the team and maybe in the NHL because of what PK Subban is doing in Montreal? Doug Wilson does a lot of smart things, but every once in a while he does something that just confuses me. This is the latter.
However, despite how much we protest, and despite how unimpressed I was with Brent Burns as a defenseman and how impressed I was with him as a forward, this was the last time we will see Burns paired up with Thornton and being a dominant force.
Well, I say the last time, but my guess is that they’ll move him back there before next season is over. Count on it.
Hey, look! It’s a Brent Burns hat trick! Get used to seeing this next year!
I still don’t understand that reasoning.