Earlier this season Brent Burns, the man most famously known for his great beard, was awarded an eight year contract worth 64 million dollars by the San Jose Sharks. Many experts and fans would say that he has earned this new contract and rightfully so, as the past couple of years have been great for Brent Burns. But taking a closer look at his recent play, it may not just be all Brent Burns. It may be the “Paul Martin Effect.” Before Paul Martin signed his four year deal with San Jose in the summer of 2015, Brent Burns was alternating between the forward and defensive positions. His game struggled at times and the organization looked like it was embarking on tough times. Then along came Paul Martin. Soon after Martin’s arrival, Brent Burns had a breakout year and led his team to the Stanley Cup final. He finished with 75 points in 82 games and was a Norris Trophy candidate last year and will be again this year. This season he already has 63 points in 59 games and leads all NHL defensemen with those numbers. Although Brent Burns clearly had the talent to take his game to the next level, he needed a solid defensive partner to complement his game. Paul Martin is your classic stay at home defensemen who always thinks defense first. They are the perfect match. Just like Han Solo and Chewbacca. He gives Brent Burns the ability to take the risks on offense while he stays back to cover any mistakes or tie up loose ends in the defensive zone. That is why Burns’ points have surged in the past year and a half. Martin is the man behind the curtains producing the show while Burns executes. Don’t get me wrong the man with the massive beard is a fantastic defenseman in the NHL but not many people realize the impact Paul Martin has had on his game. Hence, the “Paul Martin Effect.” Martin’s signing was one of the quieter signings that summer but he is just what the doctor ordered for the San Jose Sharks. Mr. Martin has truly changed the course of the organization.