Brent Burns Bio
San Jose Sharks’ defenseman Brent Burns is one of the most easily-recognizable players in the NHL due to his long, shaggy beard and toothless smile. But he’s also recognized as one of the league’s elite blue liners. What makes his presence back there even more remarkable is the fact the former right-winger didn’t convert to a defenseman until turning pro. The Barrie, Ontario native played junior hockey relatively close to his hometown by starring for the Couchiching Terriers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League and the Brampton Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League for a season each.
Burns was drafted 20th overall in 2003 by the Minnesota Wild. He debuted with the club in October, 2003 and at 6-feet-5-inches tall and 230 lbs was converted to a defenseman by head coach Jacques Lemaire. Burns skated in 36 contests with the Wild as a rookie and contributed a goal and five assists. The NHL endured a lockout the next season, but Burns was able to learn his new position by playing 2004/05 with the Houston Aeros of the AHL and scored 11 goals and 16 assists in 73 games.
He earned a regular spot on the Wild roster in 2005/06 and responded by tallying four goals and 12 assists in 72 outings. He followed up with seasons of 25 and 43 points, but then slipped to 27 points in 59 games in 2008/09. Burns played just 47 games in 2009/10 because of injuries and registered three goals and 17 assists. He was healthy the next season and set new personal highs of 17 goals, 29 assists and 46 points in 80 contests. The Wild missed the playoffs for the third straight season though and for the fifth time in Burns’ seven years with the club.
Burns was traded at the 2011 NHL Draft as he was sent to San Jose along with a 2012 second-round draft choice for Charlie Coyle, Devin Setoguchi and a 2011 first-rounder. Burns then signed a five-year contract extension with the Sharks for five years at a total of $28.8 million. He was moved up to forward for several games and finished the campaign with 37 points in 81 outings. Burns continued to play as a forward until 2014/15 and then racked up 17 goals and 43 assists from the blue line, which ranked second in defenseman scoring in the league. He was also honored for his community and charity work with the NHL Foundation Player Award.
The 2015/16 season was a highlight as Burns scored 27 goals along with 48 assists for 75 points in 82 regular-season games and was named to the Second All-Star Team. He added seven goals and 17 assists in his 24 postseason outings to help the San Jose reach the Stanley Cup final for the first time. Burns then signed another deal with the Sharks, this time for $64 million over eight years. He enjoyed his best individual season in 2016/17 with 29 goals and 47 assists for 76 points and took home the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman. He was also named to the First All-Star Team.
Burns entered the 2018/19 campaign with 566 points in 961 regular-season games and 46 points in 74 playoff contests and played will play his 1,000th game during the campaign. He has represented Canada in numerous international tournaments and won a gold medal at the 2015 and 2016 World Championships. He took home a silver the the 2008 event and at the 2004 World Junior Championships. Burns was hailed as the top defenseman at the 2015 and 2008 tournaments and also named an All-Star in 2015..
Burns is one of the top-scoring defenseman in league history and is very mobile for such a big man. He’s an exceptional skater, but isn’t exactly error-free on the blue line. He’s still one of the most exciting and effective defenders in the league though.