Sports Out West

Why Brent Burns is the key to success in San Jose

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Last season coach Todd McLellan made a bold move in shifting Brent Burns from defenseman to forward.

It is safe to say now that decision has paid off.

So far this season, the San Jose Sharks are 13-0-1 when Burns has played. While they are a dismal 6-3-4 without him. Moving Burns to forward started San Jose’s rebuilding. This off-season, GM Doug Wilson went faster and younger signing players such as Tyler Kennedy and bringing up Tomas Hertl. The Sharks now have a 19-3-5 record and are in first place in the Pacific Division. 

On top of Burns’ flat-out skill he may be the most entertaining player to watch in the NHL. He is aggressive, big, and fast, a lethal combination in any sport. This season in the 14 games he has played, Burns has 14 points with 8 goals. The power play when Burns is in the lineup is an amazing 14/68 or 21 percent. However, without Burns in the lineup the power play is an awful 7/48 or 15 percent. This is a world of difference especially come playoff time.   

The first line of San Jose is not only the biggest but most lethal line in the league when Burns is healthy. Start with 6 foot 4 center Joe Thornton who  has 30 points with 25 assists in 27 games. Follow this up by 6 foot 2 inch left winger Tomas Hertl who leads the Sharks with 13 goals this season. Then top it off with 6-foot-5 inch right winger Burns playing out of his mind and there is the best line in hockey right now. The big key moving forward will be for the Sharks to stay healthy. Losing Burns clearly is detrimental to the team, but to lose Thornton or Hertl as well would be devastating. 

San Jose is running on all cylinders right now, but the big question will always remain: Can San Jose keep this up in the postseason? 

Photo Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

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Maxim Garshman

Maxim Garshman was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is one of the most passionate fans of Bay Area Sports you’ll find and brings great experience and knowledge of all Bay Area sports into his writing.