Mike Grier found a solid defenseman last offseason when he signed Matt Benning; this offseason, he looked to go two-for-two with the addition of Kyle Burroughs. The former seventh-round pick by the New York Islanders spent the last two seasons playing with the Vancouver Canucks. Last season, Burroughs played 48 games for the Canucks where he racked up two goals and three assists while playing 17:22 a night.
In Vancouver, Burroughs played up and down the lineup and was partnered with Quinn Hughes at the end of the season. Despite the pairing, Burroughs didn’t see the production you would expect when playing with Hughes. This could be more bad luck than anything. His expected goals above replacement xGAR was replacement level, but actual goals above replacement were well below. Maybe Burroughs is due for an offensive breakout? Move over, Erik Karlsson, Kyle Burroughs is coming.
This summer, Burroughs signed a three-year deal for $3.3 million ($1.1 AAV). Burroughs, who turned 28 in July, brings a physicality to the San Jose Sharks blueline. The Sharks haven’t had a clear, tough guy defenseman roaming the blue line since Jake “Superstar” Middleton came out of nowhere in the 2021-22 season. Including the preseason, Burroughs fought nine times last season. Nine times. You may not remember him fighting nine times, but he did.
Where does Burroughs fit in?
Other than fighting, what does Burroughs bring to the Sharks? He’s a solid third-pairing defenseman. Burroughs is not an offensive defenseman and is not known for his ability to transition the puck out of the zone. With the Sharks having to go with a more offense-by-committee approach from the blue line, Burroughs could have more of an opportunity to develop that side of his game. The micro stats from Corey Sznajder of All Three Zones are not promising for Burroughs, but with the Sharks not expecting to be good this year, it’s time to throw stuff against the wall and see what sticks.
Burroughs was good on the penalty kill despite the Canucks being the worst team in the NHL on the penalty kill. He should help solidify the blue line and give the Sharks six defensemen who can play the penalty kill and provide less wear and tear on some of the Sharks’ top penalty killers. With the Sharks expected to have new forwards in the penalty kill this season, having some good penalty-killing defensemen can help alleviate the pressure on the forwards as they get used to their new roles.
What’s next for Burroughs?
Signing a three-year contract this offseason will keep Burroughs in San Jose for the foreseeable future. Burroughs should slide into the second-pairing unit with Benning as the top-pairing right-handed shot defenseman. Mario Ferraro could be a potential partner for Burroughs this season, with Ferraro taking more of the “offensive” role between them. With his contract at $1.1 million AAV, Burroughs provides some medium-term flexibility. If necessary, the Sharks can bury his entire contract in the AHL if they need to make room for some up-and-coming prospects like Shakir Mukhamadullin.
Bold Prediction: Kyle Burroughs sets career highs in games played and points this season.