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How Burns Value is Affected by Byfuglien Deal

Will the Byfuglien contract hurt the Sharks ability to re-sign Burns?

On February 8th, 2016 Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien signed a contract to a five year contract worth $38 M with an AAV of $7.6 M per year up from his previous cap hit of $5.2 M years. I know I was not alone in wondering what this might mean for San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns who will be looking for his own new contract for the 2017-18 NHL season.

Statistics from NHL.com from 2010 to the current season.

Statistically there is not much that separates the two defencemen, as you can see above over the last five years the numbers are very comparable. They also have the added versatility of successfully playing at forward at times in their career. Byfuglien also has a Stanley Cup ring and while he played a key role that team was obscenely stacked for the Salary Cup era and had to be gutted the following year for that reason. So it’s obviously fair to say that Brent Burns could easily ask for a contract in the same ball park and shouldn’t be criticized for doing so but will he get that money in San Jose?  Byfuglien has produced more points in slightly less games but is a significantly bigger liability on the ice with 200 more penalty minutes.

First it’s hard to say what position the Sharks will be in as they enter free agency before the 2017-18 NHL season, are they rebuilding, rebuilding on the fly, contending and who knows if Doug Wilson is even the General Manager at this point. So all I can do is focus on the facts we have available to us now and that is that the Sharks will be making plenty of tough decisions. Burns will not be the only UFA that summer as the Sharks will also need to make decisions on Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton. Will one or both return and at what cost? The Sharks will also have to sign Melker Karlsson, Joonas Donskoi and Chris Tierney to new deals as well as find a 6th and 7th defenseman although it is likely that these signings won’t break the bank.

Not to mention that the following year the Sharks are going to need to re-sign Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and criminally underpaid defencemen Marc-Edouard Vlasic and all three likely will need to be paid big money as well.  While the Salary Cap will probably continue to increase the rate at which it should do so will be much slower as the Canadian Dollar has no signs of turning around and potential expansion will split the existing pie by one or two teams.  My crystal ball may not be the greatest when it comes to predicting the future but my conclusion would be that Burns could easily demand and collect an $8 M pay check, he will have to decide if that is more important than playing in San Jose for up to $1.5 M dollars less.

San Jose Sharks vs. Chicago Blackhawks – Puck Drop 5:30 Pacific / 7:30 Central / 8:30 Eastern

Blackhawks Stats:

Record: 36-16-4, 76 points, 1st in the Central Division and Western Conference.
Current Streak: Won 3
Home Record: 21-5-1
Power Play: 20.6% (6th.)
Penalty Kill: 82.7% (10th.)
Last 10 Games: 7-3-0

Projected Line Up:

Shaw – Toews – Hossa
Panarin – Anisimov – Kane
Desjardins – Danault – Teravainen
Mashinter – Rasmussen – Panik

Keith – Hjalmarsson
Gustafsson – Seabrook
van Reimsdyk – Svedberg


Injured: Kruger, Rosival

Sharks Stats:

Record: 27-20-4, 58 points, 2nd in the Pacific Division.
Current Streak: Won 3
Road Record: 17-8-2
Power Play: 22.1% (3rd.)
Penalty Kill: 80.4% (17th.)
Last 10 Games: 6-2-2

Projected Line Up:

Hertl – Thornton – Pavelski
Nieto – Marleau – Ward
Donskoi – Couture – Wingels
Karlsson – Tierney – Brown/Zubrus

Martin – Burns
Vlasic – Braun
Dillon – DeMelo


About Ian Reid

Ian is the Director of Content for Pucknology. He is a lifelong Sharks fan based in Canada. In three short years Ian has come a long way starting from his own blogspot and going on to write for RSENReport.com, Last Word on Hockey before settling in at Pucknology. You can also find Ian's work as a contributor at FearTheFin.com. On the podcast side of things he was a co-host of the now defunct Teal Tinted Glasses podcast as well as a regular on Pucknology After Dark and host of the Pucknology Writers Room.

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