Burns-Setoguchi trade good for both clubs
HOME OFFICE, Toronto -- When we last saw the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference finals, we left Rogers Arena in Vancouver thinking they had to make acquiring a top-four defenseman their top priority in the offseason.
Well, that didn't take long.
Silky smooth offensive blueliner Brent Burns was acquired by the Sharks on Friday night, as San Jose sent winger Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle and its first-round pick (28th overall) to the Wild. Minnesota also traded its 2012 second-round pick as part of the deal.
Burns has top-two talent on defense, and really strengthens a group that includes Dan Boyle, Douglas Murray, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Jason Demers and Justin Braun. Burns brings speed and quickness, elements that were noticeably missing (outside of Boyle) against the Canucks in the West finals, especially with Demers injured.
On the surface, it looks like the Sharks gave up a lot, but top-four, puck-moving blueliners who are 26 years old don't come cheap. Burns has one year left on his deal, which carries a $3.55 million cap hit. His agent is Ron Salcer, who clashed with the Wild on Marian Gaborik. Wild GM Chuck Fletcher saw where this was headed and decided to get terrific value one year out.
"The two hardest things to acquire in this business are center men and defensemen, and we're fortunate to be very strong down the middle," Sharks GM Doug Wilson told reporters at the draft in St. Paul, Minn. "We've been looking for a while to add defensemen. ... When this type of guy does become available, it comes at a cost, and you don't want to fill one hole and create another. We feel we're a better hockey team today."
The blockbuster comes only one day after Setoguchi signed a $9 million, three-year extension with the Sharks. He even held a media conference call. Wilson insisted he did not know he was going to trade him when he signed him.
"We didn't negotiate with Devin with the purpose of trading him. I can guarantee you that," Wilson us over the phone Friday night after the deal.
For the Wild, they get a much-needed injection of offense after placing 26th in goals this past season. Setoguchi had 22 goals in the regular season for the Sharks and was clutch in adding seven playoff goals in 18 games. He scored a career-high 31 goals in 2008-09 but now must prove he can perform without all-world playmaker Joe Thornton.
Still, given where the Burns dossier was likely headed, Fletcher did a good job here.
We like this trade for both teams.
ESPN.com's Scott Burnside contributed to this report.