Geek of the Week: Is Brent Burns Still an Elite Fantasy Defender?

Ben Burnett

2019-12-01


It’s been several years now that Brent Burns has inarguably been the best defenseman in fantasy hockey. The 34-year-old blueliner was a bit of a late bloomer, not rising above a 50-point pace until his age-27 season. At that time, the Sharks were trying him out as a forward. In 2014-15, the Sharks put him back on the back-end, and his 60 points were tied for second in points among defensemen that year.

In the four years since Burns has put up point totals unparalleled by any other d-man in the NHL. His 361 points from 2014-15 until 2018-19 ranks first among all d-men, while his .88 points per game over that span is second only to teammate Erik Karlsson’s .89 point-per-game rate. In addition to his elite point totals, over those four years Burns topped 300 shots each season, and finished as a Norris finalist three times. His “worst” season since 2015 saw him total 67 points, 332 shots, and finish eighth in Norris voting.

This year the pirate patrolling San Jose’s blueline was drafted fifth overall in a ton of leagues, and the returns have been… quite underwhelming. He’s pacing for 62 points, a respectable if not elite pace. When Burns first hit 60 in 2014-15, only six other blueliners paced for that threshold. That number jumped to 13 defensemen in 2018-19, and 15 (including Burns) are currently on pace to do the same this year.
 

Season

GP

G

A

Pts

SOG

Sh%

Hits

Blocks

2019-20 Pace

82

15

47

62