Burns, 32, finished the 2016-17 season with 29 goals and 47 assists, the highest point total for defensemen. Had it not been for a stretch of struggles in March, Burns could have finished in the top five in the NHL overall in points scored (he finished ninth).
The Sharks spent most of the season relying on Burns to set their offense up for goals, a rarity in the modern NHL.
"Burnzie's had a fantastic season," Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said in April of possibly winning the Norris, per Curtis Pashelka of the Mercury News. "It would be nice for him. I don't think anybody right now is thinking about personal goals, including him. It would be a nice accomplishment, but he's had an exceptional year regardless and arguably our best player all year."
Burns beat out Victor Hedman and Erik Karlsson for the top honors.
Hedman, 26, racked up 72 points for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2016-17. It marked a massive uptick in production, with his previous career high in points being 55 in 2013-14.
Karlsson, 27, finished third among defensemen with 71 points but is also considered perhaps the best two-way player at his position. The Ottawa Senators captain has earned four Norris Trophy nominations and is a two-time winner of the award.