Sharks

Sharks spotlight: Brent Burns

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Sharks spotlight: Brent Burns

Sharks spotlight: Brent BurnsAge: 27 DIn his eighth season in the NHL, and first with the Sharks,defenseman Brent Burns had 11 goals and 26 assists for 37 points and 34 penaltyminutes in 81 games. Burns was tied for 11th among NHL defensemen ingoals, and was 10th in shots with 201. He added a goal and an assistfor two points in five playoff games. Burns begins a five-year contractextension in 2012-13 at an annual cap hit of 5.76 million.
Kurz says: Burns was brought to San Jose in a highlypublicized deal a little less than a year ago, with the hope that he would bethe proverbial final piece of the puzzle after two straight Western ConferenceFinal defeats. He immediately improved the blue line depth, which was theSharks biggest weakness at the end of the 2011 campaign.And Burns did, in fact, show flashes of that player theSharks hoped they were getting when they made the deal. The 6-5, 230-pounder isamong the leagues best skating defensemen for a big man, and when hes playingwell, is responsible in his own end while also being a threat in the offensivezone and on the power play.Still, it seemed like a season-long adjustment for Burns,who admitted at the end of the season that he felt some pressure to help putthe team over the hump. That was reflected most in his physical play, which,although he never had the reputation as a nasty, Chris Pronger-type, seemed todecline in his first season in San Jose. The proof of that is in his penaltyminutes, as Burns went from 98 in his final year with the Wild to just 34 withthe Sharks. The Sharks miserable penalty killing may have also prevented Burnsfrom being as physical in front of the net and along the boards as he couldhave been.SLIDESHOW: Grading the Sharks
Brodie says: No Sharks player had more eyeballs on him inthe first half of the season than Brent Burns.Even though the team had brought in a hand-full of new players, theformer-winger seemed to be surrounded by more hype and expectations than anyoneelse. Integration was indeed a process for Burns, and one thattook a little longer than desired or expected.But in the end: he still led the blue line in goals, and finished theregular season a 8. Not to mention hestayed healthy for 81 games while averaging 22:32 per night, and kept hispenalty minutes low. Burns started the year with Vlasic as a partner, but rotatedthrough several more as the season went on.He certainly held up his reputation as an offensive-minded defenseman;putting 201 shots on goal (2nd by Defensemen behind Boyle), byjumping in plays and getting pucks through from the back end.When you look up the term fun-loving, a picture of BrentBurns should likely reside next to it.His outgoing personality was even more apparent as he naturally grewcloser to teammates this season. In thisregard, he is also the first known NHL player to purposely mess up a reportershair during an in-game bench interview.2012-13 expectationsKurz says: Doug Wilson made it crystal clear after theseason that he expects Burns to be here for the long haul and besuccessful in the process, calling Burns a stud, and saying he thought Burnsfirst year as a Shark was better than his final season in Minnesota. Whilethats certainly debatable, Id say its very likely Burns has a better seasonnext year. Hell be fully acclimated to the Sharks system and his surroundingswhen training camp begins, and other offseason changes to the roster that areexpected this summer should help decrease any pressure he felt a year ago. Thespotlight wont be on him anymore.
While he may not be a number one defenseman of the pedigreeof a Drew Doughty or a Ryan Suter, I expect Burns will improve in his secondyear in teal.
RELATED: Brent Burns stats splits game logs
Brodie says: Youve got to think at this point, BradStuarts name is already penciled in the lineup next to Brent Burns for nextseason. But no matter whom he skateswith, Burns should be at a greater advantage this year, now that he is wellremoved from his first trade as a professional.All of the variables including a new coach, new teammates and newsurroundings will not be a factor this year.A lot of attention is going to be given to the new playersthat San Jose will acquire this Summer, and even more towards the new systemsthey implement. This could give Burnsthe opportunity to thrive right out of the gate by not being such a focalpoint, and flying under the radar.

Sharks winger Joonas Donskoi has officially arrived

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AP

Sharks winger Joonas Donskoi has officially arrived

It turns out the top-six winger the Sharks needed to replace Patrick Marleau was on the roster all along.

Joonas Donskoi skated on Logan Couture’s line in Monday night’s shootout loss to the Ducks, and was San Jose’s best player. He scored the Sharks’ only two goals, and tied for the team-lead among forwards with four shots on net.

Donskoi added another goal in the ninth-round shootout, but his two goals in regulation were his sixth and seventh on the season. With those goals, he surpassed his total from an injury-riddled campaign a year ago, and stands three tallies clear as San Jose’s second-leading goal-scorer this season.

Due to Melker Karlsson’s injury, Donskoi skated with the Sharks’ leading goal-scorer, Logan Couture, and rekindled the strong chemistry the pair has shown since the Finnish winger arrived in San Jose in 2015.

Of the nine lines Couture has skated on for at least 50 minutes dating back to the beginning of the 2015-16 season, the three best in terms of puck possession have had Donskoi on his wing. Those three combinations have controlled at least 54 percent of the five-on-five shot attempts, according to Corsica Hockey.

Adding Tomas Hertl, who’s already a strong possession player, to that line bodes well for an even stronger second line moving forward. With Karlsson on the wing, the line controlled only 47.7 percent of the shot attempts, per Corsica, meaning the Sharks have been routinely out-possessed with them on the ice.

That was not the case with Donskoi in Karlsson’s place, as Donskoi posted positive possession numbers alongside Couture and Hertl on Monday, according to Natural Stat Trick. The results were there, as evidenced by the game’s opening goal, but it’s a good sign that the process was, too.

The same, frankly, can be said of Donskoi’s entire season up to this point. He likely won’t convert on over 18 percent of his shots all season, of course, but the Sharks have the puck more often than their opponents when he’s on the ice, and should continue to generate pressure, chances, and ultimately goals, even if Donskoi’s personal scoring comes down.

When Karlsson comes back, Donskoi should remain on Couture and Hertl’s line. That would allow the former to slide into a role better-suited to his game, and the latter to bolster San Jose’s top-six forward group.

Donskoi’s earned an extended look in that spot thanks to his resurgence, and subsequent emergence, this season. Thanks to him, replacing Marleau’s production suddenly seems much less daunting.

Two Donskoi goals not enough as Sharks fall to Ducks in shootout

Two Donskoi goals not enough as Sharks fall to Ducks in shootout

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Antoine Vermette beat goalie Martin Jones in the ninth round of a shootout to give the Anaheim Ducks a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Monday night.

Corey Perry, Cam Fowler and Brandon Montour also scored during the tiebreaker for Anaheim.

Joonas Donskoi, Tim Heed and Brent Burns had shootout goals for the Sharks. Tomas Hertl missed his attempt in the ninth round, leaving Vermette a chance to win it.

Perry and Rickard Rakell scored in regulation for the Ducks. Reto Berra made 40 saves in his first start of the season.

Donskoi had two goals for the Sharks, including the tying score in the third period. Jones stopped 28 shots.

Donskoi helped create his own goal by knocking the puck away from a Ducks defender and getting it to Logan Couture for a give-and-go as the Sharks took a 1-0 lead 3:31 into the game.

The Ducks came back in the second period to even the score 45 seconds in. After winning a faceoff in the San Jose zone, Brandon Montour sent a sharp pass to Perry's stick. Perry settled it and fired into the net for the equalizer.

Rakell gave the Ducks a 2-1 advantage midway through the second, just as a power play ended. Perry took a shot that bounced off Jones' pads, and Rakell knocked it into the net before Jones could cover up.

The Sharks snapped an 0-for-17 streak on the power play with a goal midway through the third to tie it. Donskoi tracked down a rebound and flipped it off Berra's right pad and into the net for his second career multi-goal game.

NOTES: Ducks D Cam Fowler returned to action after missing 12 games with a knee injury. ... Sharks C Melker Karlsson missed the game with an upper-body injury. ... Sharks forward Kevin Labanc, who hasn't played much recently, started on the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. Donskoi was moved to the second line. ... Ducks G Ryan Miller missed the game with a lower-body injury. Berra made his fourth appearance this season. ... Perry has seven points in his last five games. ... Rakell has a point in seven of his past eight games, with a total of 11 during that span. ... The Sharks scored their second power-play goal in eight November games.

UP NEXT

Ducks: Host the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday.

Sharks: Play at the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday.