There aren’t many players like Burns. A converted forward, towering and with a deadly shot, the 31-year-old has scored 439 points in 816 career NHL games, and is following up a 75-point season with another beauty: Through 19 games this year he’s got seven goals and nine assists to lead all defensemen.
So, about the contract. Everyone’s going to say the same thing, and they’re right: The money is right and the length is iffy.
The $8M is a slightly smaller AAV than the younger P.K. Subban’s, and slightly bigger than that of the similarly skilled Dustin Byfuglien. The eight years is the maximum for an extension, but there was no way he wasn’t going to get the max somewhere else. The Sharks had to do this, and it’s going to be fine for a while, but the contract will run until Burns is 40 years old. Eight million bucks is fair for what Burns gives San Jose now, but what kind of production will he offer five years from now? Seven?
That’s the way it goes in this league, though—the only way to overpay is with length. The Sharks were always going to do what it took to keep Burns in teal, and the way to talk about this contract now—not eight years from now—is not in terms of “good” or “bad,” but rather as inevitable.