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SHARKS MAY LEAVE KEY PLAYER UNPROTECTED IN SEATTLE EXPANSION DRAFT

Just over three years ago now, the San Jose Sharks were one of the better off teams in the Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft, losing just third pairing defenceman David Schlemko. This coming expansion draft, they may not be so lucky.

The next expansion draft will be for Seattle, who does not yet have a team name. It will take place sometime next summer, though an official date has yet to be announced. The Sharks find themselves in a much different position now than they were for the Golden Knights draft just a few seasons ago. At the time, they were still very much contenders and wanted to keep their core intact to try and make another deep playoff run.

Fast forward to now, and their core is aging rapidly, which has resulted in the team struggling. This season, the Sharks finished last place in the Western Conference. Given the age of their core, a rebuild, or at least a retooling, may make the most sense. This would mean that leaving a high paid, aging player on the unprotected list, may be the best option.

Brent Burns, the 35-year-old defenceman, has been with the Sharks for nine seasons now, with all of them being extremely productive. The 2016-17 Norris Trophy winner was at his best during the 2018-19 season, setting a career high 83 points. This season however, he put up just 45 points in 70 games, which marked the first time in six seasons he failed to hit the 60-point mark. While it is possible it was just a down year, aging may have also played a role.



The scariest thing about this is that Burns still has five more years left on his massive deal, which pays him $8 million per season. Even if he has a bounce back season this next year, that contract is a big liability. For Seattle however, who will have a ton of cap space, taking on Burns' salary would be no problem. This may end up being something that would work out well for both organizations, but only time will tell.

COLTON PANKIW
JUNE 29, 2020  (11H54)
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