Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Brent Burns talks about his future with the Wild

Posted by: Michael Russo under Vikings draft, Wild off-season news Updated: June 24, 2011 - 10:34 AM
Star Tribune reporter Brian Stensaas will be hosting a live chat on startribune.com at 6 p.m. Friday
 
Like Marian Gaborik three summers ago and Mikko Koivu last summer, Brent Burns is well aware of the business side of hockey.
 
The All-Star defenseman knows that when you're an upper-echelon player and entering the final year of your contract, that contract in actuality expires the year before.
 
This is the summer where the Wild's got to either extend Burns' contract or entertain trading him.
 
As you could tell by today's blockbuster trade activity -- the Flyers trading Mike Richards to the L.A. Kings for Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds (per TSN) and the Flyers trading Jeff Carter to Columbus for Jakub Voracek trade, the No. 8 pick and a 3rd-round pick, the NHL draft is a time where huge trades often happen.
 
But the shaggy-haired Burns (still has an ongoing bet with Nick Schultz as to who can go the longest without a haircut), who looks to be in extraordinary shape as he's in the midst of an offseason of heavy bike-riding, says he isn't freaking out.
He wants to stay in Minnesota, but if it's not meant to be, he's confident he can move on and be a "very good defenseman."
 
GM Chuck Fletcher has had preliminary talks with Burns' agents, Ron Salcer and Tobin Wright, if for no other reason than to find out Burns' contract demands in advance of the draft. Burns says he has no status report as to where those discussions are.
 
Here's Burns' thoughts on his future:
 
--"I've got one more year left with Minnesota, and I think I’m going to build on my year last year, I think I’m in good shape already and I’m going to have a great year and I believe that. The business side of it will take care of itself, wherever that may be. Obviously I hope to be here, but if something happens and I’m not, I’m confident I’m going to be a very good defenseman."
 
--"I’ve talked to Chuck a couple times. It’s been good. We’ve had a nice coffee the one time and we talked in his office, and it was good. I haven’t talked to him anything about contract stuff. I talked to him about my year, I’ve talked to him about next year, I’ve talked to him about things that I’m going through. I really feel that Chuck’s very honest. When I talk to him, I feel like I’m getting a lot of sincerity from him. I really like that relationship between a player and a general manager when you feel comfortable talking to him. and I do. I feel very comfortable. It’s good. I think it can only get better. I get a feeling when I talk to him that he speaks from the heart, he’s a very honest man, whether it’s talking about the year or talking about anything. It’s good a feeling you get when you talk to him. It’s a good relationship. I hope to build upon it, and we’ll see what happens. But the business side, I don’t really deal with that stuff."
 
Pins and needles? "No. I don’t have any reason to be on pins and needles. I’ve been here a long time, I love it here, I feel comfortable here, but I also feel very comfortable in my game and what I can bring and I know I’m going to get better and better every year. I think I made a lot of steps last year and I know I’m going to make a lot more steps next year. Wherever that may be – I hope it’s in Minnesota – but I know I’m going to be a big part of any team that I’m a part of. I feel confident that hopefully [a contract] gets done, and we’ll see.
 
"I’ve got a lot of friends outside of hockey, and sometimes they don’t really know that I don’t really like to hear that I’m going to get traded everyday. But that’s a part of the fun. Every day, ‘Ah, I heard on the radio you’re getting traded.’ I say, ‘Well, I have no control over it.’ They always want to know the inside track and most of the time you guys know more than I do because I try not to listen to that stuff because I have no control over it. I think as I’ve gotten older, the only thing I can control is how I feel, and emotionally, I’m in a lot better place that I know how good of a hockey player I can be – and am. Wherever that may, I think I’m going to be good."
 

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