The San Jose Sharks may be without one of their big bearded players next season.
Bob McKenzie appeared on TSN 690 on Monday morning, and spoke about the Sharks big three unrestricted free agents. Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Brent Burns are all UFAs at the conclusion of this season. McKenzie believes Thornton is in a blank-check type of situation, saying “he’ll probably get another three-year deal at some point, I would think, and it’ll be a fill-in-the-blank type deal.”
McKenzie isn’t so sure that Marleau will be back, however. He points to Marleau requesting a trade last season and the fact that he’s not considered a core player there anymore as reasons that he may not return to the Sharks.
Meanwhile, Burns is one of the premier defensemen in the NHL, scoring 27 goals and 75 points last season and is at a point-per-game pace already this season. While McKenzie believes Burns “in many ways, he wants to be back in San Jose,” he also points to a lack of contract talks this past summer.
McKenzie said Burns appears to be “keeping a little bit of an open mind here to see how the season goes before he makes any commitments.”
“So I can’t sit here and tell you, by any stretch, that he won’t be back with San Jose next year. But I would also caution and say that we shouldn’t assume that it’s an absolute slam-dunk that he will be back with San Jose.”
Should Burns decide to test the market, there will be no shortage of teams interested in the big defender. The Bruins, Coyotes, Devils, Maple Leafs, Oilers, and Red Wings, would all have serious interest in the big righty.
Oilers broadcaster Bob Stauffer has previously hinted that Edmonton will have extreme interest in Burns. Burns has a great relationship with former Sharks coach and current Oilers coach Todd McLellan, and the Oilers desperately need to add a right-handed offensive weapon to their blueline. Stauffer shared a link to McKenzie’s comments with a wink and a nudge. Back in June, Stauffer had mentioned Adam Larsson as a target of the Oilers and also expressed that he wouldn’t be surprised if Taylor Hall was traded for a defenseman.