Dustin Byfuglien

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Dustin Byfuglien
Dustin Byfuglien - Winnipeg Jets.jpg
Born (1985-03-27) March 27, 1985 (age 31)
Roseau, Minnesota, U.S.
Height 6 ft 5 in (196 cm)
Weight 260 lb (120 kg; 18 st 8 lb)
Position Defense / Right wing
Shoots Right
NHL team
Former teams
Winnipeg Jets
Chicago Blackhawks
Atlanta Thrashers
National team  United States
NHL Draft 245th overall, 2003
Chicago Blackhawks
Playing career 2005–present

Dustin Byfuglien (/ˈbʌfln/ BUF-lin or local /bfɡliən/ by-FOO-glee-ən;[1] born March 27, 1985) is an American professional ice hockey player currently playing and serving as an alternate captain for the Winnipeg Jets of the National Hockey League (NHL). Drafted as a defenseman, he has played both forward and defense in his career, although he has generally played defense in recent years.

Early life[edit]

Byfuglien was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Cheryl Byfuglien and Rick Spencer. His mother is of Norwegian 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 the game of hockey where he 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).[1][2] 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[edit]

Byfuglien while a member of the Chicago Blackhawks

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, an experiment that proved successful.

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. 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 NHL season on November 3 against the St. Louis Blues and recorded his first career hat trick (three goals in one game) against the Phoenix Coyotes on November 30. 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.

Byfuglien while a member of the Atlanta Thrashers.

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 and second round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Marty Reasoner, Joey Crabb and Jeremy Morin.[3] 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.

In the 2011 All-Star Game's Skill Competition, his slap shot was clocked at 102.5 mph.

On February 15, 2011, the Thrashers signed Byfuglien to a five-year, $26 million contract extension. 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.

On April 2, 2015, Byfuglien was suspended four games for cross-checking New York Rangers forward JT Miller in the head during a March 31 game.[4]

On February 8, 2016, Byfuglien signed a five-year, $38 million contract extension with the Jets to remain with the team through the 2021-22 season.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Byfuglien is an avid fisherman, and competed in the 2011 Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship on Rainy Lake. On August 31, 2011, Byfuglien was arrested on Lake Minnetonka and booked on suspicion of boating while intoxicated.[6] Byfuglien pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to two days of community service on July 23, 2012.[7]

Byfuglien and his wife, Emily, had their first child, Kira on December 28, 2011.[8] and their second child, Kai, on October 6, 2015.[9] Both children were born in Winnipeg.

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
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
NHL totals 678 152 245 397 796 43 14 12 26 50


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 honours[edit]

Award Year
All-Star Game 2007
Second All-Star Team 2007
Stanley Cup (Chicago Blackhawks) 2010
NHL All-Star Game 2011, 2012*, 2015, 2016
  • injury prevented attendance

See also[edit]


External links[edit]