San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau said Friday he could see Brent Burns return up front after being moved back to defenseman to start this season.
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"I wouldn't be surprised if they moved him back to forward," Marleau told CSN Bay Area. "He can play any position. That says a lot about him, but I think that's a great tool for this organization to use, wherever they need to fill a hole."
Burns played his first full season as a forward in 2013-14 after being moved there from defense. He finished with 22 goals and 26 assists for a career high 48 points in 69 games.
The Sharks opened training camp without defensemen Dan Boyle (signed with the New York Rangers as a free agent) and Brad Stuart (traded to the Colorado Avalanche).
Burns came to the Sharks in a trade from the Minnesota Wild prior to the 2011-12 season. He played defense then before the Sharks tried him at forward during the shortened 2012-13 season.
"Brent was acquired to provide us with a long-term, quarterback offensive defenseman," coach Todd McLellan told reporter Kevin Kurz. "He's an NHL all-star defenseman and he's earned the right to be there in those types of situations. Dan Boyle and Brad Stuart moved on. It created a hole, and [Burns'] natural position is back there, and we're going to play him there. We think he's very capable of being one of the top defensemen in the League."
Marleau said Burns could be a top forward too.
"I think we've got a lot of young [defensemen] here," Marleau said. "He's a great player. I think he can score 30 or 40 goals as a forward as well."