After posting the best season by a defensemen in Sharks history, Brent Burns was rightly named a finalist for the Norris Trophy.
Heading into this season, one of the big debates centering around the San Jose Sharks was whether Brent Burns should remain on the blue line or be moved back to forward.
I think Burns emphatically answered that question.
Yesterday, Burns was named a finalist for the Norris Trophy, which recognizes the NHL’s top defenseman, along with Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson.
It was a historic season for Burns who set franchise records for goals (27), assists (48) and points (75) by a defenseman this year.
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Amongst all blue liners, Burns finished first with those 27 goals and 30 power-play points while finishing second behind Karlsson in total points.
While the Norris Trophy is a regular season award, Burns has been even better during the Sharks postseason run as he leads San Jose with 10 points (two goals, eight assists) and averaging more than 24 minutes of ice time per game.
He’s a big reason why team teal has won five of their six playoff contests to date and has recorded multiple points in each of the last three games.
Pretty impressive numbers considering all the responsibilities that fall on his shoulders.
Heading into the playoffs, many considered Doughty to be the favorite after spear-heading the Kings defensive unit throughout the regular season.
However, when it mattered most, it was Burns who clearly outplayed his counter-part in Doughty as San Jose eliminated Los Angeles in five games. In that series, Burns recorded two goals and six assists to lead team teal, while Doughty could only muster just one assist and a minus-five rating as the Kings flamed out in the first round.
It’s been quite the turnaround for Burns who looked lost defensively last year, and even at times in the early going this season.
But the addition of Paul Martin as his running mate has made for a great partnership that has allowed Burns to flourish.
Martin’s steady presence gives Burns the freedom to work his magic in the offensive zone. It’s too bad the playoffs aren’t included for consideration because Burns has been phenomenal and not just offensively.
He’s become more defensively reliable and is the best break out man on the Sharks blue line.
While Burns may very well finished third in the actual Norris voting, he’s the only left standing in the pursuit of the ultimate prize.
I’m sure he’d be just fine with hoisting the Stanley Cup instead of the Norris Trophy this summer.