Burns is 37 years old and this past season, the defenseman scored 10 goals and 54 points in 82 games. With San Jose retaining salary, the Burns’ contract will count for $5.28 million against the cap for each of the next three seasons.
The defenseman essentially comes in as a replacement for Tony DeAngelo, who the Hurricanes dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers. DeAngelo was a restricted free agent, who then signed a two-year deal with the Flyers at a $5 million cap hit.
Despite his age, Burns was tasked with a pretty massive role for the Sharks. He was playing 26 minutes per game while consistently facing tough competition and averaged over 2:30 per game on both the power play and penalty kill.
His play in the role didn’t come without faults, as he often did get caught out of position and was prone to some poor turnovers. That said, it’s important to factor in how a change of scenery could affect the defender.
In Carolina, Burns shouldn’t be under anywhere near as much pressure, given that the Hurricanes have a far more stable defense group. We’re likely to see Burns paired with Jaccob Slavin, which creates a much better situation than Burns had in San Jose. Slavin is one of the most reliable defensemen in the NHL and the pairing would give Burns the opportunity to take some chances, with a partner who can almost always compensate if needed. Then with Brett Pesce as another very strong right-handed defenseman, Burns doesn’t necessarily have to consistently take on the toughest competition.
This isn’t to say Burns isn’t capable of taking on a large role and facing tough competition, but his role with the Sharks wasn’t necessarily ideal. He’ll still be a better fit to play tough minutes than DeAngelo but with Carolina, Burns won’t face anywhere near the same exposure as in San Jose.
Given the very reduced cap hit and the depth of Carolina’s defense group, Burns is set to be a really solid addition for the Hurricanes. He should be the Hurricanes' top producer on the blue line by far and all signs point to him being a great fit.