After all, Burns is an imposing figure who is hard for defensemen to contain. He’s got a great shot and intimidating skill.
“He’s been dynamic,” Wilson said. “He’s the type of player you knew was going to have a big impact on our team, but we had a need last year in the forward position because we wanted to reset how we played. “Burnzie, with his history, really fit perfect with Jumbo [Joe Thornton] and how we wanted to play.”
Playing on a line with Thornton and rookie sensation Tomas Hertl, Burns has eight goals and 15 points in 16 games this season. He missed 13 games with the after-effects of being high-sticked by Ottawa Senators goalie Robin Lehner on Oct. 12.
Burns still believes “I can be a top D-man in this league, but I love playing both. I’m having fun with it. I just love to play.”
Wilson won’t commit that Burns’ transition to stud power forward is a permanent move. Remember, Dustin Byfuglien went from defenseman to Cup-winning impact forward with Chicago back to defenseman with Atlanta and Winnipeg.
“But he’s willing to do anything to help the team, which tells you a lot about Burnzie,” Wilson said. “Who knows where he’ll be in future years, but right now he fits perfectly with what we needed up front.
“Burnzie’s just a very real, unique person. He’s very curious about life, very smart and a joy to be around. He looks at the world a little differently than others, and we kind of like that.”