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Dustin Byfuglien

Dustin Byfuglien
Byfuglien with the Winnipeg Jets in April 2016
Born (1985-03-27) March 27, 1985 (age 38)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Height 6 ft 5 in (196 cm)
Weight 260 lb (118 kg; 18 st 8 lb)
Position Defense / Right wing
Shot Right
Played for Chicago Blackhawks
Atlanta Thrashers
Winnipeg Jets
NHL Draft 245th overall, 2003
Chicago Blackhawks
Playing career 2005–2020

Dustin Byfuglien (/ˈbʌflɪn/ BUFF-lin;[1] born March 27, 1985) is an American former professional ice hockey player. He played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Thrashers, and Winnipeg Jets. Drafted as a defenseman, he played both forward and defense in his career, though he generally played defense in his later seasons. Byfuglien helped Chicago win the Stanley Cup in 2010. Byfuglien was the first Black American-born player to win the Stanley Cup. [2] Byfuglien became a professional fisherman after his hockey career.

Early life

Byfuglien was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Cheryl Byfuglien and Rick Spencer. His mother is of Norwegian and Swedish descent, and his father is African-American. Cheryl moved to Roseau, Minnesota, with Dustin to be closer to her family while Rick stayed in Minneapolis to continue college; the two never wed. In Roseau, Byfuglien was exposed to hockey and found an instant love for the sport, which soon turned into a calling. Byfuglien's stepfather, Dale Smedsmo, played four games in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1972, and 110 games in the World Hockey Association (WHA).[3][4] Rick Spencer played college football for the St. Cloud State Huskies.

Due to being academically ineligible under Minnesota State High School League rules to play at Roseau High School, Byfuglien first moved to Warrenville, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, to play AAA under-18 hockey for the Chicago Mission then moved to Canada to play major junior hockey.

Playing career

Chicago Blackhawks (2005–2010)

Byfuglien with the Blackhawks in April 2010

Byfuglien played major junior hockey for both the Brandon Wheat Kings and Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League (WHL). Byfuglien was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2003. Originally a defenseman at the start of the 2007–08 season, he was moved to a right wing position to give the team a larger body near the net.[5]

He spent parts of his first two seasons with the Blackhawks' minor league team at the time, the Norfolk Admirals, and the Blackhawks. He excelled in his third professional season, becoming the first Rockford IceHogs player to earn the American Hockey League's Player of the Week award, when he scored one goal and had five assists in four games.[6] Byfuglien had seven points in eight games with Rockford before earning a recall on November 3, 2007, to the Chicago Blackhawks and never returned to the IceHogs.

He had a goal in his first shift with the Blackhawks in the 2007–08 season on November 3 against the St. Louis Blues and recorded his first career hat-trick against the Phoenix Coyotes on November 30.[7] He finished tied for fifth on the team with 19 goals and 36 points in his third season with the team, all while making a transition to forward throughout the campaign. He played a major role in the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup winning season in 2010, scoring 11 goals with five assists in the playoffs, including three goals in the Finals.[8]

Atlanta Thrashers / Winnipeg Jets (2010–2020)

On June 24, 2010, Byfuglien was traded by Chicago, along with Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and Akim Aliu, to the Atlanta Thrashers for the New Jersey Devils' first (Kevin Hayes) and second round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Marty Reasoner, Joey Crabb and Jeremy Morin.[9] The Thrashers moved Byfuglien back to his natural position of defense, although he had experience as a first-line and second-line winger with the Blackhawks, including the Blackhawks' run to the Stanley Cup in 2010. He became an alternate captain for the Thrashers after a few months into the 2010 season. Byfuglien was selected to his first All-Star Game, along with teammate Tobias Enström.[10] In the 2011 All-Star Game's Skill Competition, his slap shot was clocked at 102.5 mph.[11] A month later, on February 15, 2011, the Thrashers signed Byfuglien to a five-year, $26 million contract extension.[12] He scored 12 goals along with 41 assists during the 2011–12 season that saw the Thrashers move to Winnipeg. Byfuglien appeared in 66 games for the Jets that season and was again invited to the NHL All-Star Game.[13]

Byfuglien with the Thrashers in December 2010

Prior to the 2013–14 season, Byfuglien admitted he changed his fitness regime to work more on stickhandling and puck movement.[14] That season, Byfuglien recorded a career high 56 points.

After being moved back to his natural position, Byfuglien recorded 12 goals and 35 points in 48 games. As a result, he was invited to the 2015 NHL All-Star Game as the Jets sole representative.[15] On April 2, 2015, Byfuglien was suspended four games for cross-checking New York Rangers forward J. T. Miller in the head during a March 31 game.[16]

His All-Star streak continued into the following season, as he was invited to his fourth All-Star game. At the time of his selection, Byfuglien has amassed nine goals and 23 points through 40 games.[17] On February 8, 2016, Byfuglien signed a five-year, $38 million contract extension with the Jets to remain with the team through the 2020–21 season.[18]

Byfuglien with the Jets in February 2013

On October 27, 2018, Byfuglien recorded his 500th NHL point in a 2–1 win over the Detroit Red Wings, becoming the 14th player drafted in the eighth round or later to hit 500 points.[19] He suffered a lower-body injury in a 3–1 loss to the Minnesota Wild on December 27, 2018 and was expected to miss at least 10 games.[20] Byfuglien eventually returned on February 7, 2019, after missing all of the month of January only to be re-injured again a week later with a lower body injury.[21] Despite this setback, Byfiglien returned to the Jets lineup on March 30, 2019 and eventually ended the 2018-19 season by leading the team in penalty minutes with 69 and the Jets qualified for the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs, where he averaged over 25 minutes per game and recorded 8 points in 6 games.[22]

On September 13, 2019, 3 weeks before the 2019-20 season started, he was granted an indefinite personal leave of absence by the Winnipeg Jets.[23] However, he was later suspended by the Jets for not returning to training camp, though later reports indicated this was for salary cap relief.[24] He underwent surgery for a high ankle sprain in late October 2019, without direct involvement of the team.[25] On February 24, 2020, the Jets announced that Byfuglien would not return for the remainder of the season.[26] On April 17, shortly into the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jets and Byfuglien mutually agreed to a contract termination.[27]

Personal life

On August 31, 2011, Byfuglien was arrested on Lake Minnetonka and booked on suspicion of boating while intoxicated.[28] Byfuglien pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to two days of community service on July 23, 2012.[29]

Byfuglien is an avid fisherman, and competed in the 2011 Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship on Rainy Lake. He embraced his passion for fishing after retiring from the NHL and became a pro fisher.[30][31]

Byfuglien and his wife, Emily, have three children.[32][33] All of the couple's children were born in Winnipeg.

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2000–01 Roseau High School HS-MN
2001–02 Chicago Mission MAHL 52 32 30 62 40
2001–02 Brandon Wheat Kings WHL 3 0 0 0 0
2002–03 Brandon Wheat Kings WHL 8 1 1 2 4
2002–03 Prince George Cougars WHL 48 9 28 37 74 5 1 3 4 12
2003–04 Prince George Cougars WHL 66 16 29 45 137
2004–05 Prince George Cougars WHL 64 22 36 58 184
2005–06 Norfolk Admirals AHL 53 8 15 23 75 4 1 2 3 4
2005–06 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 25 3 2 5 24
2006–07 Norfolk Admirals AHL 63 16 28 44 146 6 0 2 2 18
2006–07 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 9 1 2 3 10
2007–08 Rockford IceHogs AHL 8 2 5 7 25
2007–08 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 67 19 17 36 59
2008–09 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 77 15 16 31 81 17 3 6 9 26
2009–10 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 82 17 17 34 94 22 11 5 16 20
2010–11 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 81 20 33 53 93
2011–12 Winnipeg Jets NHL 66 12 41 53 72
2012–13 Winnipeg Jets NHL 43 8 20 28 34
2013–14 Winnipeg Jets NHL 78 20 36 56 86
2014–15 Winnipeg Jets NHL 69 18 27 45 124 4 0 1 1 4
2015–16 Winnipeg Jets NHL 81 19 34 53 119
2016–17 Winnipeg Jets NHL 80 13 39 52 117
2017–18 Winnipeg Jets NHL 69 8 37 45 112 17 5 11 16 20
2018–19 Winnipeg Jets NHL 42 4 27 31 69 6 2 6 8 4
NHL totals 869 177 348 525 1,094 66 21 29 50 74

International

Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
2016 United States WCH 7th 2 0 1 1 2
Senior totals 2 0 1 1 2

Awards and honors

Award Year
AHL
All-Star Game 2007
Second All-Star Team 2007
NHL
Stanley Cup champion 2010
NHL All-Star Game 2011, 2012*, 2015, 2016

* injury prevented attendance

See also

References

  1. ^ "Dustin Byfuglien and his dog, Walter" on YouTube
  2. ^ Kreiser, John (February 6, 2019). "Black History Month spotlight: Byfuglien wins Cup with Blackhawks". NHL. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  3. ^ Ziemer, Brad (May 6, 2010). "Dustin Byfuglien: Did you know …". The Vancouver Sun. Vancouver. Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
  4. ^ Rogers, Jesse (May 7, 2010). "Byfuglien has found emotional side". ESPN. Archived from the original on October 24, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
  5. ^ "Byfuglien at forward experiment for US could be short-lived". San Diego Union Tribune. September 13, 2013. Archived from the original on May 12, 2018. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  6. ^ "ROCKFORD'S BYFUGLIEN NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK". theahl.com. October 22, 2007. Archived from the original on September 22, 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  7. ^ "Byfuglien has natural hat trick, Blackhawks rout Coyotes". ESPN. November 30, 2007. Archived from the original on July 1, 2018. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  8. ^ "CHAMPION CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS SEND PLAYOFF HERO BYFUGLIEN TO THRASHERS". The Hockey News. June 23, 2010. Archived from the original on August 2, 2018. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  9. ^ "Hawks deal Byfuglien, Sopel to Thrashers". National Hockey League. June 25, 2010. Archived from the original on June 26, 2010. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  10. ^ Manasso, John (January 9, 2011). "Despite position change, Byfuglien finds stardom". nhl.com. Archived from the original on September 22, 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  11. ^ Laws, Kenneth (August 4, 2015). "The Top 10 Americans in the NHL Today". thehockeywriters.com. Archived from the original on September 22, 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019. He was also clocked at 102.5 mph in the slapshot competition in 2011's All-Star game.
  12. ^ Kalan, David (February 15, 2011). "Byfuglien signs extension with Atlanta". nhl.com. Archived from the original on September 22, 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  13. ^ "Dustin Byfuglien 'worthy choice' for 2012 NHL All-Star Game". National Post. January 13, 2012. Archived from the original on October 19, 2023. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  14. ^ Friesen, Paul (September 12, 2013). "Slimmed-down Dustin Byfuglien ready for coming NHL season". Winnipeg Sun. Archived from the original on September 22, 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  15. ^ Wiebe, Ken (January 23, 2015). "Winnipeg Jets' Dustin Byfuglien soaking up the atmosphere at NHL all-star game". Winnipeg Sun. Archived from the original on September 22, 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  16. ^ "Byfuglien suspended four games for cross-checking". NHL.com. April 2, 2015. Archived from the original on March 20, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  17. ^ Clinton, Mitchell (January 6, 2016). "Dustin Byfuglien heading to All-Star Game in Nashville". nhl.com. Archived from the original on September 22, 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  18. ^ Johnston, Mike (February 8, 2016). "Jets sign Dustin Byfuglien to five-year contract extension". Sportsnet.ca. Archived from the original on March 10, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  19. ^ Wiebe, Ken (October 27, 2018). "Byfuglien's milestone point propels Jets to win over Red Wings". Winnipeg Sun. Archived from the original on September 22, 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  20. ^ Billeck, Scott (December 31, 2018). "Byfuglien out for Jets until after All-Star Weekend". nhl.com. Archived from the original on September 22, 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  21. ^ "Byfuglien out at least three games for Jets with lower-body injury". nhl.com. February 19, 2019. Archived from the original on September 22, 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  22. ^ Goethals, Ryan (August 29, 2019). "Jets Report Cards 2018-19: Dustin Byfuglien". thehockeywriters.com. Archived from the original on September 22, 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  23. ^ "Winnipeg Jets grant Dustin Byfuglien personal leave of absence". The Sporting News. September 13, 2019. Archived from the original on October 9, 2019. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
  24. ^ "Byfuglien suspended by Jets for not being at camp: report". nhl.com. September 21, 2019. Archived from the original on September 22, 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  25. ^ "Winnipeg Jets say absent Dustin Byfuglien had ankle surgery, with team not 'directly involved' in decision". usatoday.com. October 31, 2019. Archived from the original on December 7, 2019. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
  26. ^ "Byfuglien won't play this season". February 24, 2020. Archived from the original on February 28, 2020. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  27. ^ Campbell, Tim (April 17, 2020). "Byfuglien, Jets agree to terminate contract". NHL.com. Archived from the original on October 19, 2023. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  28. ^ "Byfuglien arrested on Boating incident". Minnesota Star Tribune. August 31, 2011. Archived from the original on January 12, 2015. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  29. ^ "Jets' Byfuglien pleads to careless boating charge". CBS Sports. July 23, 2012. Archived from the original on July 13, 2015. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
  30. ^ https://www.classicbass.com/anglers/dustin-byfuglien/
  31. ^ Baily, Jonathan (November 26, 2023). "Flyers Daily: Adam Fox Injury Update, Ex-NHL All-Star Becomes Pro Fisherman". Philly Hockey Now. Retrieved November 26, 2023.
  32. ^ "Jets welcome baby Buff". Winnipeg Free Press. December 28, 2011. Archived from the original on January 12, 2015. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  33. ^ "Jets D Dustin Byfuglien all about new beginnings as season gets underway". Winnipeg Sun. October 8, 2015. Archived from the original on October 19, 2023. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
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