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Caps Alumni Biographies: Nelson Burton

The Washington Capitals selected Nelson Burton with their third-round pick, 57th overall in the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft.

by Washington Capitals @Capitals /

Nelson Burton, who grew up playing minor hockey in Sydney, Nova Scotia, joined the QMJHL's Hull Festivals in 1974-75. In his rookie season, he played in 67 games, scoring 20 goals and 39 points. Perhaps the most noticeable statistic on his resume was the 333 minutes in penalties. Burton liked the rough stuff, and was only too happy to be called upon when on-ice policing was required, and even sometimes when it wasn't. The following year he scored 26 goals and 51 points in 71 games, while maintaining his rough and tumble style, accumulating 322 minutes in the box. During his final year with the Remparts, Burton notched 22 goals and 50 points, while amassing 398 minutes in penalties.

Burton's unique combination of offensive abilities and willingness to stand up for fellow teammates in the trenches, certainly drew a lot of attention and praise from NHL scouts. The main concern, however, seemed to be whether he could harness that aggression. The Washington Capitals took a chance, selecting him with their third-round pick, 57th overall in the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft.

During his first year as a pro, the Capitals sent Burton to play for their AHL farm team in Hershey to evaluate his playing. In 57 games, he scored four goals and eleven points with a feisty 323 minutes in penalties. He got the call from the Capitals late in the season, and was used in eight games. He managed to score his lone NHL goal while picking up eight penalty minutes.

The following year he was back in Hershey with the Bears, playing 51 games. The Capitals called him up for three games, where he had a fight and four minor penalties. That was it for Burton's NHL career. He played eight games, scoring once while spending 21 minutes in the box.

Burton continued to play pro hockey for another five years with the Syracuse Firebirds, Nova Scotia Voyageurs and Baltimore Skipjacks of the AHL, the Erie Blades of the EHL, Nashville South Stars of the CHL and finally the Erie Golden Blades of the ACHL in 1983-84. Burton continues to live in the Washington area and is currently the head coach of the Washington Little Capitals, a major midget AAA all-star team comprised of 16-year-old players.

Player bios courtesy of the Hockey Hall of Fame

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