Apr 4, 2013, 4:12 PM EDT
What’s old is new again for the Jets.
That’s the story as Winnipeg prepares to take on the Canadiens tonight in Montreal, where head coach Claude Noel will skate Dustin Byfuglien as a forward.
“He’s a hard guy to move in front of the net,” Noel told TSN. “He’s a big man. He makes the goalie work, that’s for certain. Those are areas we’d like him to occupy.”
Byfuglien, 28, broke into the NHL as a defenseman with the Blackhawks, only to transition into an effective power forward during his time in Chicago.
At no time was he more dynamic than during the 2010 Stanley Cup run, tying for the team lead with 11 goals, five coming on the power play.
Byfuglien moved back to defense upon being traded to Atlanta and has played the position exclusively over the last few seasons. (He made the 2011 NHL All-Star game as a blueliner).
But, during Tuesday’s lacklustre 5-2 loss to the Islanders, Noel shook things up by moving Byfuglien up front during the third period to skate with Brian Little and Jets captain Andrew Ladd.
Noel liked what he saw, so he’s sticking with it for Thursday, noting that the move isn’t just about Big Buff standing in front of the net.
“He’s equally as good in the corner when he has the puck,” Noel explained. “He protects it well and is a hard guy to control in the corner. He can do some things.
“He’s got a fairly high skill level as well, so he can give us some dimensions in different areas.”
- BREAKING: Kessel traded to the Penguins 36
- PHT’s 2015 free agent frenzy tracker 26
- Oilers get Sekera for six years, closing in on Letestu 5
- Avalanche sign veteran d-man Beauchemin for three years 5
- Neely was ‘surprised’ that Hamilton didn’t want to sign with Bruins 12
- NHL, Coyotes deny report that team is moving to Vegas 32
- Report: Richards’ border incident involved oxycodone 63
- Trade: Bieksa headed to California — but it’s Anaheim, not San Jose 25
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago 91
- Hamilton signs six-year deal with Flames 19
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (91)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks (75)
- Trade: Busy Bruins send Lucic to Kings (66)