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. Dubnyk makes case for top Wild gig with shutout

    Jan 30, 2015, 12:17 AM EST

    Arizona Coyotes v Minnesota Wild Getty Images

    Head coach Mike Yeo said he earned that goose egg, too.

  2. Sharks chase Bryzgalov, down Ducks

    Jan 29, 2015, 11:47 PM EST

    Joe Pavelski, Ilya Bryzgalov Joe Pavelski, Ilya Bryzgalov

    So much for some rest for Frederik Andersen.

  3. WATCH LIVE: Ducks at Sharks

    Jan 29, 2015, 9:33 PM EST

    San Jose Sharks v Anaheim Ducks Getty Images

    Another strong game on NBCSN.

  4. Video: Senators pay tribute to Spezza

    Jan 29, 2015, 8:49 PM EST

    Jason Spezza AP

    Nice applause in his return to Ottawa.

  5. Here’s why Brodeur is working for Blues (instead of Devils)

    Jan 29, 2015, 7:12 PM EST

    Martin Brodeur, Doug Armstrong AP

    To some extent, it was about staying closer to the game.

  6. WATCH LIVE: Canadiens at Rangers

    Jan 29, 2015, 6:17 PM EST

    Montreal Canadiens v New York Rangers Getty Images

    Bask in a budding rivalry.

  7. Get your game notes: Habs at Rangers

    Jan 29, 2015, 5:28 PM EST

    Montreal Canadiens v New York Rangers Getty Images

    The first of a Thursday night doubleheader on NBCSN.

  8. AHL announces new Pacific Division — who could go west next?

    Jan 29, 2015, 4:36 PM EST

    AHLlogo

    The Coyotes and Canucks, that’s who.

  9. Latvian forward Kenins called up to Canucks

    Jan 29, 2015, 3:36 PM EST

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwmxnjrmzdm4nmnjndjlmwmyyzizmgjkzja2ogi5yjll AP

    In the wake of the controversial injury to Derek Dorsett.

  10. Goalie nods: Dubnyk goes again for Wild in key game vs. Flames

    Jan 29, 2015, 3:29 PM EST

    Dubnyk

    News and notes from around the crease…

  11. Lupul activated, available to play versus Coyotes

    Jan 29, 2015, 3:07 PM EST

    Joffrey Lupul Getty Images

    Hopefully he can stay healthy this time.

  12. Seeking consistency, Sharks in ‘dog fight’ to make playoffs

    Jan 29, 2015, 2:45 PM EST

    Logan Couture, Jonathan Quick AP

    “Consistency is still a word that we use constantly around here, bringing it all the time, and being emotionally attached to the games.”

  13. Report: NHL to unveil jersey ads during World Cup

    Jan 29, 2015, 2:21 PM EST

    2015 NHL All-Star Weekend - Commissioners Press Conference 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend - Commissioners Press Conference

    Just months after COO John Collins said that jersey sponsorship “is coming” to the league.

  14. Babcock didn’t think Wings would be ‘near where we’re at’

    Jan 29, 2015, 2:06 PM EST

    Mike Babcock Getty Images

    “We’ve gotten better, and we’ve got to keep getting better.”

Featured video

Kings come back in third to top Blackhawks
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (3455)
  2. E. Malkin (3010)
  3. K. Letang (2709)
  4. C. Price (2670)
  5. T. Johnson (2465)
  1. P. Hornqvist (2338)
  2. M. Brodeur (2284)
  3. P. Rinne (2271)
  4. S. Bobrovsky (2259)
  5. T. Hall (2161)