Brent Burns nominated for the James Norris Trophy

Will the NHL let the Wookiee win?

Brent Burns earned a James Norris Trophy nomination on Friday, a well deserved honor for the defender after an incredible season. He scored 75 points, good enough for 11th in the NHL and second only to Erik Karlsson (82) among defenders. That set a franchise record for points by a defender in a single season, too.

He also improved his defensive play while paired with new defender Paul Martin. The two really looked in sync especially to end the regular season. The two finished ninth and 10th in high-danger scoring chances for percentage amongst defenders with at least 1,000 minutes. So while Burns may often receive criticism for allowing the big play, the Wookiee ends up creating a whole lot more than he allows.

Ottawa Senators defender Erik Karlsson and Los Angeles Kings veteran Drew Doughty also received nominations for the award.


SAN JOSE - The National Hockey League (@NHL) announced today that San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) defenseman Brent Burns (@Burnzie88) has been voted as one of three finalists for the James Norris Trophy, awarded to the League's top defenseman as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association (PHWA).

"We are extremely proud of Brent and thrilled that he is getting the recognition he deserves," said Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson. "He has worked extremely hard to be an elite-level defenseman and has been an integral part of our team this season."

Burns finished the 2015-16 season with 75 points (27 goals, 48 assists), which was second amongst all NHL defensemen. He also finished first amongst NHL defensemen in goals, tied-for-third in assists, first in shots and first in power play points (30). Amongst all NHL players, he ranked 11th in points, T-11th in assists and second in shots, behind only Alex Ovechkin.

On the Sharks, he ranked second in goals and assists, and third in points, while playing in all 82 games.

In addition, Burns set a handful of San Jose franchise milestones this season. He surpassed Sandis Ozolinsh for most goals and points by a defenseman in a single season, and bested a record he previously shared with Dan Boyle for most assists by a blueliner in a single season. Burns also set a Sharks franchise record for most shots on goal in a single season.

In January, he was named to the NHL's All-Star team for the third time in his career.

Burns was named the Sharks Foundation "Sharks Player of the Month" during the month of November and March. During the month of November, "Burnzie" posted the most goals of any NHL defensemen (eight) and was tied for third in points (14). More so, he led all San Jose scorers in goals and points. In March, Burns led all NHL defensemen in goals (six), points (17) and shots (68). Additionally, he led the Sharks in points, was second in assists (11) and registered a point in 12 of the 16 contests the Sharks played in March.

More so, the NHL recognized Burns for his outstanding play by awarding him the "third star" for the month of March. He registered 19 points (6 goals, 13 assists) over the course of the month. Burns was also named third and second star for the weeks ending on March 6 and April 3, respectively.

The six-foot-five, 230-pound native of Barrie, Ontario was originally selected by the Minnesota Wild in the first round (20th overall) of the 2003 NHL Draft. He was acquired by San Jose from Minnesota on June 24, 2011.

The 2016 NHL Awards will be held on Wed., June 22, at The Joint, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's state-of-the-art concert and entertainment venue and hosted by world-renowned actor Will Arnett. In addition, Encore at Wynn Las Vegas will serve as NHL® Headquarters during the 2016 NHL Awards.

It marks the first year that the NHL Awards™ will be held at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, home to world-class entertainment, dining and party hotspots, as well as concerts and special events. This will be the eighth year of a successful partnership between Las Vegas and the League and the seventh time the NHL will honor the best hockey players in the world and the top performances of the season in Las Vegas. Other Las Vegas venues that have hosted the NHL Awards include Palms Hotel (2009-2011), Encore at Wynn Las Vegas (2012, 2014) and MGM Grand (2015).