Will It Be Forward Or Back To Defense For Brent Burns Next Year?

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks will face decisions with plenty of players on their roster after yet another playoff disappointment. Once considered sellers at the trade deadline, one has to wonder if a decent sized shakeup is coming for an aging organization. But there are also decisions to be made on roles for specific players, rather than whether they’ll stay or go.

Obviously, the prime guy you’re talking about in that situation is Brent Burns. It was an interesting season for Burns. He had some health issues early on, and when he returned he saw a transition from the blue line up front. The results were mixed at times, but it’s hard to argue with the positives of having him up there.

Yes, Burns is an asset on the blue line as a puck mover. But what he was able to bring to the forward ranks proved to be even more important for the Sharks. At the time of the move, they were in a dark place offensively, having a really difficult time putting anything up on the scoreboard.

Burns helped to spark their offense in a role as a power forward in the top six. He ended the season with 23 of his 30 games as a forward, and his individual results were really quite something. He had 19 points from the forward spot, with only one in his other seven on the blue line.

Nine of his 19 points came from putting the puck in the net. However, his impressive results don’t necessarily guarantee him of a spot up front next season. He could very well be headed back to the blue line. The decision isn’t entirely his to make, though he’ll likely have input of some sort.

While the Sharks could use the help on the blue line, there’s no doubt that having Burns up front proved extremely beneficial. He’s a massive presence to try and deal with, standing 6’5″. If he sheds a few pounds, he’ll be a bit quicker up there as well. Opposing teams don’t want to deal with that.

What the Sharks do with Brent Burns will likely impact offseason plans on both fronts. Whether he ends up a forward or back on defense will certainly impact what the Sharks plan to do with the rest of their roster. And his offseason training is dictated by the move as well. His status could be something that we’ll become aware of pretty soon.

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