This season saw the return of Inglewood Jack. More importantly, it also saw the return of Brent Burns. After missing long stretches with what was originally thought to be concussion issues, then reported to be something else entirely, it was good to see Burns back in the lineup.
One of the few members of the team that can be accused of trying too hard, Burns went off a cliff after the All-Star break. That said, Brent Burns at 75 or 80% is still better than the vast majority of NHL defensemen at 100%. Now Burns the subject of trade rumors as the Wild need scoring, and his is the prime example of a tradable asset.
Will he be a member of the Minnesota Wild next season? That has yet to be determined. Did he get a passing grade for the season? That we can tell you right now.
#8 / Defenseman / Minnesota Wild
Mar 09, 1985
|2010 - Brent Burns||80||17||29||46||-10||98||8||0||3||170|
JS- GRADE: B+ I don't care what anyone says about how he played after the All-Star Break, you have to admit it felt good to finally have this guy around for a full season.
I'm one of those increasingly rare guys that wants Burns to stick around. Think about it: If Burns is traded, who do we have to start plays from the back end? Zidlicky? Sure, when he's not injured. If not Zidlicky, who? No one, that's who. Plus, everyone's saying Burns wouldn't be enough for a one-for-one trade, so do we really want to give so many assets to get a scorer that won't score if no one can start the break-out?Burns finished the season third among league defensemen in goals, making him damn near irreplaceable on a team desperate for goals. Sure, he had a letdown after the All-Star break, but who the hell didn't'? Especially in March.
He was a team defensemen worst -10 along with Cam Barker, but that'll happen when your team goes on a month-long futility streak and you lead your team in ice-time per game by nearly 4 minutes. He could stand to be more physical, and mistakes could be reduced, but he has not reached his full potential yet, I'm certain of it. He will be a 20-25 goal defenseman someday, and the Wild needs this more than anything trading him + assets would give us, I'm also certain of it. I know he can do a lot better, so next season, I'm hoping to see Burns score 20 in a Wild sweater.
Elise- GRADE: A- Best season of his career so far and seemingly back on track after the injury/concussion issues last year.
Dan- GRADE: B His season is pretty much set in two parts: pre-all star and post-all star. At first, he plays like a man possessed. Physical, defensively smart, but also knows when the jump in offensively. However, after the all-star game, it just seemed he was trying too much. Both parts even themselves out.
Bryan- GRADE: C An All-Star level first half, a dismal second half. Burns has all the makings of a top five in the NHL d-man, and he just needs to trust himself more. During his amazing first half, he was pinching at the right times, scoring, and playing shut down D. What changed in the second half? His teammates collapsed, to be certain, and his forwards were pushing so hard offensively, they forgot about the defensive effort. While his second half was horrid, it is difficult to pin it exclusively on him. Even keel seems to be the needed mantra for the Wild D-corps, and it applies here as well. Just even it out.
Nathan- GRADE: D+. When he's bad, he's one of the biggest liabilities in the NHL, and for the part of the season where the team most needed him to be good, he was simply brutal. Pinching when he shouldn't, stepping up when he needed to be safe, falling back when he should step into the play. Every decision he made seemed to be the wrong one, and often resulted in in a scoring opportunity for the opposition. Pair that with a decrease in offensive production and it became painfully obvious that when the team needed Burns, he left his game elsewhere. All too often there were four rookie defensemen on the ice and Burns was the one sticking out for poor play.
Time for Brent to pack his snakes and GTFO.
Cumulative GPA: 2.66 C+
July 1st, Chuck Fletcher can begin talking to Brent Burns and his agent about a contract extension. The draft is June 24th. If Fletcher can get the return he wants, trust me, Burns won't need to worry about signing an extension with the Wild. The hard part to admit at this point, is that Burns is the prime target for trade. With his contract situation and ability level, he would command a prime return.
For completely selfish reasons, I would like to see Brent Burns locked up for the rest of his career. I also wish he was a bit better with the media. Finally, evening out the peaks and valleys would be stellar. However, none of those things are in my control. So, I will sit with everyone else and wait to see how it all plays out.