The decision by Todd McLellan to move Brent Burns from defense to forward wasn’t one that was met with criticism so much as it was curiosity. After all, the San Jose Sharks were/are a team decimated by injury and inconsistency. Perhaps moving him up there is the spark they needed.
So far, it’s an experiment that is working out just like McLellan and co. could have hoped.
Prior to the past two games, Burns had only played in six tilts on the year, due to injury. When he returned at the beginning of this week, the Sharks moved him up to forward. In the two games since, it’s actually looking like this could become something more permanent.
Burns has three points in two games up front. On Thursday, he joined the Sharks’ top line of Joe Thornton and Logan Couture. The Sharks are 1-1-0 in the games Burns has appeared in up front, but looked very strong in his second game, and first with that top line, on Thursday.
Two of those three points have come via the goal. And goals are what this Sharks team needs. Their depth scoring this season has been non-existent. Burns is helping out greatly in that department two games in.
Burns brings some energy to the forward ranks. He knows how to move the puck and can play a physical game, down around the crease, that the Sharks can really use.
Supposedly, this is a temporary move until the Sharks get over some of their injuries. But if Burns keeps playing as well as he is, and the Sharks come out of this little experiment with some much-needed wins, could it become something we see on a regular basis? After all, Burns was a forward when he was drafted. Could he return to his forward ways permanently with the Sharks?