Monday, February 27, 2012

Making a Case For Dustin Byfuglian

It's hard not to make the case for Dustin Byfuglian (Big Buff) as an integral member of the Winnipeg Jets. I was reading different sports boards this weekend and I couldn't believe the negativity against the guy. Most of the negativity seemed to come from people who weren't Jets fans and who seem to ignore some facts. I think they just didn't do their home work on this one.

Dustin Byfuglian is a key part of the Jets, especially when it comes to offense. There are only three defensemen in the NHL who have more points (40) than Big Buff. Buff is part of the Jetss improved power play of late. He's a big presence on the ice and isn't afraid to take the body or stick up for his teammates.

Winnipeg Jets 2011 Team LogoAll three of the players ahead of Buff have played in at least 10 more games. Buff is scoring almost one point per game and is definitely a big part of the Jets success!

To put Buff''s 40 points in perspective, he's scored those points in 48 games. His former teammate Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks has 50 points in 64 games and his teammate Evander Kane has 41 points in 56 games. Both those guys are forwards. So you can now see how valuable a guy like Buff is, can't you?
Big Buff's presence has been felt lately as the Jets make a push for the playoffs. Buff's play at his opponents blue line has been noticed by Sportmentary. Buff's ability to pinch in along the boards and the fact that he can keep the play going in the offensive zone has helped his team to be in a fight for the playoffs.

Some will argue that Buff's +/- is not good. He's a -10 and that ranks among the lowest for defensemen. The problem with counting his -10 as a reason why he's not valuable, misses a key part of how the +/- is calculated. Power play goals against a player who's on the ice counts against that player. The Jet's are ranked 20th in the NHL in power play kills and rank fourth in giving up the most power play goals. You can hardly blame Buff for that fact.

I think when you look at Buff, you see a guy who's been a key ingredient for the Jets playoff push. He will be a guy that will be counted on to help the Jets succeed if they do indeed make the playoffs this Spring.

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