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USA Hockey calls Byfuglien a ‘wild card’

Jul 27, 2013, 9:07 PM EDT

dustinbyfugliengetty Getty Images

USA Hockey invited Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien to its evaluation camp on Monday, but American Olympic team GM David Poile admitted to the Winnipeg Free Press that the hybrid blueliner is something of an unknown commodity.

“I have to choose my words wisely. He’s a bit of a wild card,” Poile said on Tuesday. “He’s never participated in any USA Hockey tournaments. Our committee doesn’t know him as well as some of the other guys and we want to get to know him a bit. He’s a tremendous talent. The decision will come down to how he plays in October, November and December. We’ll be watching him closely.”

There are plenty of possible problems regarding Byfuglien, from rumors about his weight to questions about his defensive acumen.

Still, the 28-year-old brings the kind of size, shot and versatility that few players – let alone Americans – can offer. The team can even use him as a forward, as the Chicago Blackhawks did in their 2010 Stanley Cup run.

Byfuglien ranks among the many players whose Olympic hopes likely rest on a few months of the 2013-14 season, making him that much more captivating to watch.

(H/T to Rotoworld.)

  1. tru2joelu4eva - Jul 27, 2013 at 9:58 PM

  2. vanindeed - Jul 27, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    How does Byfulien not make USA?

  3. slysipops - Jul 27, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    i read somewhere last season that BUFF became BIG BUFF……like 260 lbs. worth of BUFF and was in hot water over the weight issue. he had trouble with his weight while with CHICAGO too !

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - Jul 28, 2013 at 10:39 AM

      260? I;m pretty sure the rumor took him to 300

  4. bigx21 - Jul 27, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    If he can not make the Dman position, he’s still available for winger!!

  5. agentdw - Jul 28, 2013 at 12:10 AM

    dude is an absolute BEAST in front of the net. even on his nhl squad, even if he was primarily a d-man, i’d have him up front for the PP. losing him and his size in front of the net was our biggest weakness until Bickell stepped up this past yr….

  6. pavelfitzgerald - Jul 28, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    He is an absolute beast when checked in & in shape .. .. But those times aren’t consistent enough. Poile is spot on when he says Byfuglien is a wildcard

  7. ruthlessandtoothless - Jul 28, 2013 at 3:06 AM

    Maybe a gold medal would be enough motivation for him to get in shape. Including Russians, you’d be hard pressed to find a hockey player more content with wasting talent in the NHL as Byfuglien. Its actually kinda sad when you think about it.

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