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How much is it going to cost to extend Brent Burns?

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The Wookiee’s gonna get paid.

2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Four Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The 2017 offseason is shaping up to be very interesting for the Sharks. Brent Burns, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau will all become UFAs following the 2016-17 season and Marc-Edouard Vlasic will have just a year left on his deal.

General manager Doug Wilson would like to see at least one of those contract decisions made before next June — and Burns’ is likely at the forefront of his mind. Burns will be 32 in March and is currently on a five-year deal worth $5.76 million a year. So how much will it cost to keep our favorite Wookiee around?

Well, it probably won’t be cheap. Burns just wrapped up one of the best seasons a Sharks defender has ever had, culminating in a nomination for the Norris. He posted career highs for both goals and assists and set a Sharks franchise record for most points by a defender in a single season.

That incredible season will be juxtaposed against his age. Burns has likely peaked and, particularly given his physical style, will decline over the course of his new contract. So how do the Sharks balance his obvious talent with a contract that takes into account his age? Let’s look at some comparables. Data is from General Fanager.

Brent Seabrook and Dan Boyle are probably the best two comparables we’ve got. Both were around the same age as Burns will be when his contract expires and both commanded hefty salaries. The Sharks got a sweet deal on Burns’ first extension, but I don’t think they’ll be quite so lucky the second go around.

Boyle got his deal two years removed from finishing fourth in Norris voting, while Seabrook got a rich, long deal as a reward for helping the Blackhawks to a pair of Stanley Cup victories. My guess is the Burns deal will fall somewhere between the 6/$6.66 million Boyle got and the 8/$6.875 million Seabrook received.

Burns is a unique case in that there really aren’t many hockey players like him. He isn’t the best defender in the game, but what he offers the Sharks in terms of offense is rare. San Jose needs to keep him around if there’s to be any hope of propping the championship window open.

With both Marleau and Thornton likely to take pay cuts, if they come back at all, Wilson should be able to afford to give Burns a raise. My guess is that he receives a seven year deal worth somewhere between $45-49 million (AAV of between $6.5-$7 million). Given his value to the team, I don’t think the Sharks will have much choice in the matter.

Let’s call it 7/$49 million. Hit the poll with your thoughts on whether Burns will command less, more or about this much.