March 27, 1985 |
|Height||6 ft 5 in (196 cm)|
|Weight||260 lb (120 kg; 18 st 8 lb)|
|Position||Defense /Right wing|
|National team||United States|
|NHL Draft||245th overall, 2003
Dustin Byfuglien (// BUF-lin or local // by-FOO-glee-ən; 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.
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). 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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
In the 2011 All-Star Game's Skill Competition, his slap shot was clocked at 102.5 mph.
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. Byfuglien pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to two days of community service on July 23, 2012.
Regular season and playoffs
|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||—||—||—||—||—|
Awards and achievements
|NHL All-Star Game||2011, 2012*, 2015, 2016|
-* injury prevented attendance
- Ziemer, Brad (2010-05-06). "Dustin Byfuglien: Did you know …". Vancouver Sun. Vancouver. Retrieved 2010-05-09.
- Rogers, Jesse (2010-05-07). "Byfuglien has found emotional side". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2010-05-09.
- "Hawks deal Byfuglien, Sopel to Thrashers". NHL. 2010-06-25. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
- "Byfuglien arrested on Boating incident". Minnesota Star Tribune. 2011-08-31. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
- "Jets' Byfuglien pleads to careless boating charge". CBS Sports. 2012-07-23. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
- "Jets welcome baby Buff". Winnipeg Free Press. 2011-12-28. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
- "Jets D Dustin Byfuglien all about new beginnings as season gets underway". "Winnipeg Sun". 2015-10-08. Retrieved 2016-02-04.
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