SAN JOSE (CBS / AP) — The San Jose Sharks acquired the topflight defenseman they had been seeking, sending a package headlined by forward Devin Setoguchi to the Minnesota Wild for All-Star Brent Burns.
The Sharks paid a steep price to acquire the 26-year-old Burns, who is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent after next season.
They sent a former 30-goal scorer who hasn’t even reached his prime in the 24-year-old Setoguchi, last year’s first-round pick Charlie Coyle and the 28th overall pick in this year’s draft for Burns and a 2012 second-round selection.
Burns is one of the top offensive defensemen in the league, with his 17 goals last season ranking third among all blue liners. He also had 29 assists, giving the Sharks another proven puck-moving defenseman to go along with veteran All-Star Dan Boyle.
“Brent is an elite first-pairing defenseman that is just coming into his prime,” general manager Doug Wilson said. “We feel that he gives our blue line tremendous depth and versatility and will augment our existing core. He combines a dangerous offensive prowess with an abrasive presence in the defensive zone.”
Burns has played 453 career games since joining the Wild as an 18-year-old first-round pick. He has 55 goals and 128 assists in his career.
Burns played in the AHL for current Sharks coach Todd McLellan and assistant Matt Shaw during the 2004-05 season.
“His ability to combine his elite offensive abilities with his size and defensive awareness makes him one of the top defenseman in this League and he will be for years to come,” McLellan said.
Setoguchi got dealt a day after signing a $9 million, three-year contract instead of testing the waters as a restricted free agent. He said after reaching that deal that he couldn’t be happier, calling San Jose the best place to play in the NHL. It will no longer be his home.
Setoguchi overcame a lackluster start last season before finishing with 22 goals and 19 assists in the regular season. He added seven goals and three assists in the playoffs, including overtime goals to beat Los Angeles and Detroit in the first two rounds.
The 24-year-old forward scored 15 goals in his final 33 games, while playing mostly on the top line with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.
But San Jose had much more depth up front than on defense, leading to this trade.
Setoguchi has 84 goals in four seasons in the NHL, including a career-high 31 two years ago. He also has 75 assists in 267 games and has one of the best shots on the Sharks.
Coyle was drafted 28th overall a year ago. He had a strong year in college at Boston University this season and was viewed as one of San Jose’s top prospects.
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