Brent Burns has been utilized as a forward, currently playing for the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League (NHL). He was converted into a defenceman upon turning professional, after being drafted as a right wing (20th overall) at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota Wild. During the shortened 2012-13 season, and continuing through the 2013-14 season, the Sharks utilized Burns as a forward. Starting with the 2014-15 season, he was returned to defence. At the end of the 2015-16 season, Burns finished third in voting for the James Norris Memorial Trophy (awarded to the NHL's best defenceman); one year later, at the end of the 2016-17 season, Burns won the award for the first time in his career.
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