San Jose Sharks Player Spotlight: The Erratic but Extremely Effective Game of Brent Burns

SAN JOSE, CA - OCTOBER 18: Brent Burns #88 of the San Jose Sharks in action against the Buffalo Sabres at SAP Center on October 18, 2018 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA - OCTOBER 18: Brent Burns #88 of the San Jose Sharks in action against the Buffalo Sabres at SAP Center on October 18, 2018 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The San Jose Sharks are in the midst of their most publicized season in franchise history. Team Teal is under a constant spotlight this this year, but this team is full of players who don’t shy away from the bright lights. One of the many electric personalities that grace this team with their presence is Brent Burns.

Burnzie leads this San Jose Sharks team in points over the course of the first 10 games compiling 12 points, with 2 goals. There were a lot of question marks surrounding the addition of Erik Karlsson and how his presence would interfere with Brent Burns’ opportunities in the offensive zone. But after observing the first handful of games it seems like those concerns have subsided. Team Teal’s lone remaining bearded wonder seems to keep perpetuating his dominance in the offensive zone this season.

From the looks of it the Sharks offense seems to be funneling a large portion of their output through Brent Burns’ stick. When he is deployed on the ice the Sharks spend a lot of time inside the opponents zone. With a 59.79 FF% and a 58.72 CF% Burns’ presence on the ice results into some strong puck possession. His ability to keep it in the opponents zone is something that San Jose Sharks fans have come to expect during his tenure in teal

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Not only does he drive play for Team Teal from the blue line, Brent Burns ridiculous shot produces some good scoring chances.  When on the ice Burnzie sports an impressive 61.03 SF%. Not only is he getting pucks to the net he is also generating some dangerous scoring opportunities.

His on ice SCF is an admirable 57.54%, and is credited with a 55.74 HDCF%. Essentially when he is in the offensive zone the San Jose Sharks are getting some decent looks at the opposing netminder.

These stats are commendable and are depictions of a defenseman who knows his way around their opponents zone. But what really sets Burnzie apart from the other offensive minded defensemen in the league is the attention he attracts while on the ice.

He features a 72.22 HDGF%, a 65.52 GF% and according to Corsica Hockey he leads all Sharks defenders with a 1.79 ixGF. Opposing teams have to focus on his shooting ability from far out, which opens up passing and shooting lanes for his teammates. Also his hard shot has created 8 rebounds, which result in some hazardous scoring chances for the Sharks big bodies around the crease.

Burnzie has remained this effective over the course of his San Jose Sharks career because the coaching staffs put him in a position to succeed. During the first handful of games Burns’ usage has been primarily in the offensive zone. As specified by Corsica Hockey, Burns has a lopsided 70.29 Zone start ratio, starting 45.54 of his shifts inside offensive zone.

Coach Peter DeBoer often shields Burns from difficult assignments, however he has relied on him to kill some penalties this year which is surprising. However it appears that when Burns is on the ice the Sharks are more than likely playing on the opponents end. He’s an aggressive player that plays a high risk high reward style and it’s the source of a lot of the frustration expressed by the San Jose Sharks faithful

His aggressive style generates tons of offense for the Sharks, but sometimes it backfires. He leads the team by a large margin in total turnovers with 13, and they are often converted into highly dangerous scoring opportunities. He has been bailed out a few times this season by some stellar saves from his goalies. Yet it feels like Pete DeBoer is content with giving up those dangerous chances in order to maintain Burns’ effectiveness in the offensive zone.

The most glaring statistic when looking through Burnzie’s sheet is how influential he can be on special teams. 8 of his 12 total points so far have come on special teams. His booming shot creates a lot of headaches for defenses when on the man advantage with 6 points so far this season. Also another surprising number is that he has 2 assists when short handed. His magnificent passing ability has helped the Sharks produce a league leading 4 SHGs.

Regardless of your personal opinions of Brent Burns it tough to argue that he isn’t effective offensively. For years now he has been the focal point of the Team Teal’s offense, and this year is no exception. There were questions surrounding how he would adjust with the addition of EK65. Nevertheless so far this season he has continued his aggressive but extremely effective style of play, and it has produced mightily for this newly configured Sharks lineup.

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The statistics in this article were provided primarily by unless stated otherwise.