Skip to content

Winnipeg Columnist: Byfuglien’s gotta go

Apr 27, 2013, 4:48 PM EST

Dustin Byfuglien Getty

Since being traded by the Chicago Blackhawks and transitioning back to the blueline, Dustin Byfuglien has emerged as one of the league’s most productive defenseman from an offensive perspective.

But is that enough to warrant his $5,200,000 cap hit and leading role on the Winnipeg Jets? Winnipeg Free Press writer Gary Lawless doesn’t seem to think so. He argued that Byfuglien has become a roadblock for the team.

Here’s his case against Byfuglien:

There are all sorts of issues that add up to this result but Byfuglien is a major part of the formula that hasn’t produced.

The 28-year-old Minnesota native played in 43 games this season, scoring eight goals and 20 assists. Solid offensive numbers, but too often the production came at a cost. The Jets were among the worst defensive teams in the league, ranked 25th with 141 goals against.

Byfuglien, as one of the blue-line leaders in ice time and opportunity, wears much of that responsibility. He can take one’s breath away with a rush up ice but he can also produce great angst with his lack of defensive awareness.

Keeping him in such a key position no longer makes sense. It isn’t working.

There’s been talk about Byfuglien changing his game to be more balanced and less of a risk. It hasn’t materialized into a consistent reality.

His fitness issue was supposed to be addressed and resolved. Hasn’t happened. It may have gotten worse.

Lawless argued that Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff should trade Byfuglien, unless Cheveldayoff believes that the blueliner is on the brink of a breakthrough.

There’s bound to be a market for Byfuglien if Winnipeg does decide to shop him. Plenty of teams need a minutes-eating blueliner that can play a key role with the man advantage.

Of course, with that in mind, the Jets might keep Byfuglien off the market this summer.

Latest Posts
  1. Lawyer: Ribeiro to ‘vigorously fight’ $1M lawsuit alleging abuse of ex-nanny

    Mar 5, 2015, 7:13 PM EST

    Mike Ribeiro Mike Ribeiro

    “At the same time, Mike will maintain his focus on doing all he can to help Nashville win its first-ever Stanley Cup.”

  2. Ovechkin (lower body) to miss first game of the season tonight

    Mar 5, 2015, 6:47 PM EST

    Washington Capitals v New York Islanders Getty Images

    Won’t suit up when the Caps take on Minnesota.

  3. Bruins sign former WHL captain Justin Hickman

    Mar 5, 2015, 5:27 PM EST

    Seattle Thunderbirds v Kelowna Rockets Getty Images

    Big forward who doesn’t mind dropping the gloves.

  4. (Video) PHT Extra: Why would Babcock leave the Wings now?

    Mar 5, 2015, 4:26 PM EST

    Mike Babcock Mike Babcock

    He recently called them the “best group I’ve had since ’09.”

  5. Preds ‘out for a little revenge’ versus Isles

    Mar 5, 2015, 3:00 PM EST

    Taylor Beck, Anders Lee, Josh Bailey AP

    Nashville’s won just two of its last eight.

  6. Edler, Burrows, and Kassian expected back for Canucks, who ‘better be’ ready for Coyotes

    Mar 5, 2015, 2:05 PM EST

    AlexEdler Getty Images

    “We only have 19 games left and we have to be winning and getting points.”

  7. ‘Banged up’ Ovechkin questionable for Caps versus Wild

    Mar 5, 2015, 12:33 PM EST

    Alex Ovechkin AP

    Will take the pre-game skate to determine if he can play.

  8. In praise of the Hamburglar

    Mar 5, 2015, 12:18 PM EST

    Patrick Wiercioch, Andrew Hammond Getty Images

    That’d be Sens goalie Andrew Hammond.

  9. Leafs’ Panik latest to be fined for diving

    Mar 5, 2015, 12:11 PM EST

    Phil Kessel; Peter Horachek Phil Kessel; Peter Horachek

    Following an incident against Washington on Mar. 1.

  10. Connor McDavid is just on fire right now

    Mar 5, 2015, 12:11 PM EST

    Erie Otters v Peterborough Petes Getty Images

    Up to 107 points in just 40 games.

  11. Panthers clear captain Mitchell, put Montoya on IR

    Mar 5, 2015, 11:29 AM EST

    Florida Panthers v Calgary Flames Getty Images

    Florida takes on Dallas tonight as the fight for the playoffs continues.

  12. Capitals call up Burakovsky

    Mar 5, 2015, 9:46 AM EST

    Andre Burakovsky AP

    May not be a good sign regarding Michael Latta.

Featured video

Is there an issue with Babcock in Detroit?
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. K. Okposo (3110)
  2. H. Lundqvist (3044)
  3. M. Giordano (2832)
  4. T. Seguin (2808)
  5. F. Andersen (2787)
  1. H. Zetterberg (2524)
  2. N. Horton (2427)
  3. T. Hall (2269)
  4. D. Clarkson (2036)
  5. P. Sharp (2015)