SAN JOSE -- A big question facing the Sharks' management and coaching staff in the coming weeks is where to play Brent Burns, who was acquired as a defenseman but showed his value as a forward in the second half of the regular season and in the playoffs.

Burns had nine goals and 11 assists for the Sharks during the regular season, all as a forward on a line with Joe Thornton, but may be needed more on defense as the team makes personnel decisions this summer and sets a roster for training camp in the fall.

"We owe it to the organization and we also owe it to Burnzie to let him know what we'd like to do moving forward," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "Brent will be able to participate in that, as well. We need a little time here. ... He's obviously a tremendous player in both positions."

 Brent Burns #88 of the San Jose Sharks is pursued by Dwight King #74 of the Los Angeles Kings for the puck in the first period of Game Seven of the
Brent Burns #88 of the San Jose Sharks is pursued by Dwight King #74 of the Los Angeles Kings for the puck in the first period of Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on May 28, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson, who confirmed Thursday that McLellan and his staff will return next season, was appreciative of Burns' willingness to play forward in March as the team looked to bolster a sagging offense and play a more north-south style.

"His immediate response was, 'If it helps the team, I'll do it.' That tells a lot about him," Wilson said. "We'll go through those conversations with the coaches next week and again we'll do what's best for the team."

Burns said it does not matter to him whether he plays forward or defense next season.

He would like to know before it gets too deep into the offseason, though, so he can plan his training regimen.


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"If I play forward I'd probably want to be a little lighter, do more speed stuff, and agility. We'll see," Burns said, adding that strength and conditioning coordinator Mike Potenza, "would help me with a lot of that stuff.

"When you're a bigger guy you try to get as light as you can. Either way I would try to do that, but at forward I think you really concentrate on that."

  • Soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Scott Gomez said he has no plans to retire but was less committal than Raffi Torres about wanting to return to the Sharks, who picked up Gomez in January after his contract was bought out by Montreal.

    "There's plenty of time for that in the future. I'm not really worried about that right now," Gomez said. "I'm still getting over the loss. I'll take a couple more days. Whatever the future holds. But this is a great organization and great group of guys and a team that can still win."

  • Wilson confirmed the Sharks signed 2012 first round draft choice Tomas Hertl to a three-year contract and said Hertl has an opportunity to play with San Jose in 2013-14. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Hertl had 30 points in 43 games for HC Slavia Praha of the Czech Extraliga, and shined for the Czech Republic at the World Junior Championships with five points in six games.

    "He has a skill set that can be a difference maker," Wilson said. "You know our history -- a player has to come in and earn it on his own merit."

  • The Sharks also disclosed that the injury that sidelined Marty Havlat was a groin pull and that Justin Braun would be having minor surgery to repair a hand injury.

    It had previously been reported that Logan Couture was playing with a sprained left ankle and Marc-Edouard Vlasic suffered a hairline fracture on his right foot.

    Neither injury will require surgery.