Could Burns bounce between forward and defense?

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The San Jose Sharks used Brent Burns as a forward last season, but have made it clear that he’ll be a defenseman in 2014-15. Some of the team’s veteran forwards seem to think that’s not set in stone though.

“If we need a goal later on in games I’m sure you’re probably going to see him up front a little bit,” former captain Joe Thornton told CSN Bay Area. “He can do it all.”

Patrick Marleau took it a step further by suggesting that Burns might shift back to forward, noting that they have “a lot of young [defensemen] here.”

“I think he can score 30 or 40 goals as a forward, as well,” Marleau said. “He’s very versatile. If the coaching staff and management think they can move him back up to forward, I think that would be great. If he stays back on D, he’s going to be great back there, too.”

Marleau added that it wouldn’t surprise him if Burns ended up playing as a forward again.

It’s ultimately Sharks coach Todd McLellan’s call though and he doesn’t seem to share Thornton and Marleau’s viewpoint. McLellan argued that the loss of defensemen Brad Stuart and Dan Boyle have created a void and Burns is the logical candidate to fill it. After all, they originally acquired him to be one of their top blueliners and he’s earned the right to be used accordingly.

Related:

Sharks explain moving Burns back to the blueline

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