Brent Burns has a stressful offseason ahead of him, but it will start with some fun in two weeks in Slovakia when he will be joined by Wild teammate Cal Clutterbuck in the world championships for Canada.
Burns will be coached by one of his biggest supporters, Ken Hitchcock. It was Hitchcock, who is interested in the Wild vacancy, who continually threw Burns over the boards en route to his being named best defenseman of the 2008 tournament.
"It's another chance for me to learn more and play at a great level," Burns said.
But Burns also knows his future in Minnesota is up in the air. Like Mikko Koivu last July, the Wild must decide this summer if it is prepared to make a long-term commitment to Burns.
The Wild signed Koivu to a seven-year, $47.25 million extension that begins next season. Burns, a big thoroughbred of a defenseman, can become an unrestricted free agent after next season, meaning the Wild plans to either extend his contract or perhaps trade him so it doesn't risk losing him for nothing in a year (see Marian Gaborik).
"It's nothing for me to dwell on," Burns said. "I have a year left. That'll get taken care of either way."
Burns had a terrific first half, being selected to his first All-Star Game. The second half didn't go as well.
"I think things can go better," Burns said. "There's a lot for me to learn. I'm still developing in the position. I think I made great strides this year working with Rick [Wilson, Wild assistant coach]. I learned a lot from him.
"I don't think I had a bad year by any stretch of the imagination. But it's hard to feel good about anything right now."
Burns playing in worlds with Wild future up in air
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Apr 13