The Sharks traded Burns and AHL forward Lane Pederson to Carolina for forward Steven Lorentz, AHL goalie Eetu Makiniemi and a conditional 2023 third-round pick. The Sharks retained 34% of Burns' cap hit. The conditional selection will be the lower of Carolina's two third-round picks, which will be determined at the conclusion of the season.
Burns had to approve the trade to Carolina.
"Since it's been announced, eight or nine of our current players have already texted me saying, 'Wow, they can't believe we got this guy,'" Carolina president and general manager Don Waddell said. "That's always a positive sign."
Burns, 37, has three more seasons with an $8 million average annual value (AAV) against the salary cap. The Hurricanes will have a cap hit of $5.36 million for Burns.
But in real dollars, Burns will make $6.5 million ($3.5 million in signing bonus money) next season and then $5 million in each of the following two seasons ($2 million in signing bonus money) for the rest of the deal. That was no doubt appealing for the Hurricanes.
Carolina needed a right-side, puck-moving defenseman after trading Tony DeAngelo to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Hurricanes were linked to free agent defenseman John Klingberg of the Dallas Stars but opted to trade for Burns.
"I'm coming to a time where winning and having a chance to win it all is really all that matters right now,'' Burns said. "I've chased the boys in red and black around the ice there for a while. ... It's a great, great team that is competing for a championship every year.''
Burns had 54 points in 82 games last season for the Sharks. He's known as one of the NHL's most prolific shot-generating players, having led the NHL with 320 shots in the 2016-17 season, the same year he won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenseman. His ability to get shots through on the power play had been an asset during his 11 years in San Jose.
Burns had 594 points in 798 games with San Jose. Before that, he spent seven seasons with the Minnesota Wild, scoring 183 points in 453 games as both a forward and a defenseman.
He has appeared in 679 straight games dating to the 2013-14 season, while his 15 career overtime goals are the most by a defenseman in league history.
"You always look [at] age, but everybody ages differently,'' Waddell said. "And this is a big man that has played a lot of minutes and been very durable through his career. So we think he's got at least three more real good years in him as he reaches the age of 40.''
Burns' training routines have helped him maintain his effectiveness during long shifts. He's averaged 25:35 of ice time over the past five regular seasons to rank second among all NHL skaters, trailing only Los Angeles King defenseman Drew Doughty.
"I'm excited about coming to a new place where some of my [training] habits I do are probably not the best anymore,'' Burns said. "I want to see a new group of people, what they do, what another team does. I'm excited about all that and just fitting in and helping."
Lorentz played two seasons with the Hurricanes, scoring 21 points in 112 games. Makiniemi was a fourth-round draft pick by the Hurricanes in 2017. He played professionally in Finland before joining the Chicago Wolves of the AHL last season.
The 6-0 Pederson, 24, has one goal and five assists in 44 career NHL games.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.