Geek of the Week: Brent Burns

by Scott Maran on October 22, 2017 | (1 Comments)

Geek of the Week: The Time May Be Now To Go After Brent Burns

It was only a few weeks ago that Brent Burns, star defenseman for the San Jose Sharks, was the talk of the town. After just coming off a season where he recorded 29 goals, 76 points, and captured the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman, many expected Burns to follow that up with another excellent season. However, even though it’s earlier, that has not been the case so far, as Burns as actually had a pretty dreadful start. But with this terrible start may present a great opportunity to those who missed out on the chance to draft Burns. Obviously Burns’ value is still very high, but his owners may be starting to get a little impatient. Burns’ value might never be lower during the year than it is right now so if you’d ever want to acquire him, now might be the time.

Even though he’s had a bad start, Brent Burns is still one of the best fantasy defensemen in the league, if not arguably the best. Before the start of this year, Burns had posted two 70+ point seasons in a row, something only one other defensemen (Erik Karlsson) has done. And for the past two years in a row Burns has led all defensemen in goals, scoring 12 more goals than second-place Erik Karlsson’s 17 goals last season. According to our Fantasy Hockey Geek tool, Brent Burns was actually the most valuable skater in the 2016-17 fantasy hockey season, even beating out the likes of Alex Ovechkin and Connor McDavid (using an average 12-team H2H Yahoo league measuring G, A, PPP, SOG, Hits, W, SV%, GAA, and SO in our rankings).
 

 

Rank

Position

FHG Value

G

A

SOG

PPP

Hits

Brent Burns

1

D

109

29

47

320

25

69

Alex Ovechkin

2

LW

107

33

36

313

26

216

Victor Hedman

3

D

93

16

56

166

33

93


What makes Burns such a valuable asset (besides just his impressive goal and assist totals) are the contributions he makes to other categories. While he doesn’t rack up the hits like Alex Ovechkin does, Burns is a beast when it comes to shots on goal. Last year his 320 shots on goal were first in the league, breaking Oveckin’s four-year streak of having the most shots on goal in the NHL. It also helps that he gets a ton of power play points, tallying the 17th most power play points last year with 25.

But you probably know just how good Brent Burns is; there’s a reason he was drafted on average with the ninth overall pick in Fantrax and ESPN leagues. But the problem is that, even though Burns was drafted so high overall in most leagues, he’s had one of the worst starts by any top player so far. Out of the top 20 skaters in points from last year, Burns is tied for the least amount of points with two (and that’s tied with Ryan Getzlaf, who’s two points is in two games compared to Burns’ six games). He’s also been a dreadful minus-5 as the Sharks as a team have been struggling a bit with only the 22nd most goals scored in the league. Our Fantasy Hockey Geek tool isn’t too high on Burns either, ranking him outside the top 200 skaters for the season so far. With only one assist through five games (in the FHG records), Brent Burns is ranked all the way down at 226th overall, just under James van Riemsdyk and just above players like Blake Comeau and Anders Bjork.
 

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

Hits

James van Riemsdyk

225

17

5

2

1

12

1

9

Brent Burns

226

17

5

0

1

18

0

7

Blake Comeau

227

17

7

1

0

14

0

16


There’s plenty of reason for optimism though. Burns is on pace to record even more hits than he had last year and is averaging close to four shots a game. The points will eventually come and as the Sharks do better, Burns’ plus/minus should improve (if your league counts that).

But what’s really interesting about Burns’ terrible start is the possible opportunity it presents for those who don’t own him. While players like Nikita Kucherov are going on seven-game goal scoring streaks, Burns is stuck at zero goals and two assists on the year. Burns owners may be getting impatient with their likely first-round pick and are probably a lot more willing to trade him for someone who hasn’t started so bad. This isn’t to say that Burns will be cheap; any hypothetical trade for him would require a massive haul to make it worth it for the owner. However, Burns was projected by Fantasy Hockey Geek as the number one fantasy hockey player for a reason and now might be the best time to try and get him for a cheaper price. If you weren’t able to draft him in your league, now might be the only chance you can get to possibly acquire him.

 

  • christian

    I picked up Burns with an extremely high pick in my draft. I must admit I am a bit worried by the slow start.