32-Year-Old Defenseman – Winnipeg Jets
Dustin Byfuglien Contract Information:
Signed a five-year contract extension with an average annual value of $7.6 million in February of 2016.
Byfuglien put up two more assists in Saturday's overtime loss to the Canadiens.
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Dustin Byfuglien: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Byfuglien has been one of the game's most prolific goal-scoring blueliners for a while now, having produced three straight seasons of 18-plus goals, including last year's 19 tallies to go with 34 assists, a plus-4 rating and 247 shots. Not only was he aggressive, but the veteran had a knack for closing games, sending home six game-winners. Byfuglien’s a no-doubt top-pairing defenseman fro the Jets who sees major minutes in all situations, including the power play. The Minnesota native is also a huge boost to any fantasy rosters in leagues that count PIM and hits – he totaled 119 and 222, respectively, last season. That skill set makes him fantasy gold in essentially all formats.
The Jets moved Byfuglien to forward full-time at the start of last season, only to move him back to defense in December and then give him occasional time at forward to cover for injuries. The change paid off -- after recording just nine points over 25 games in the first two months of the season, Buff exploded for 36 points in the next 44 contests, as he seemed energized by his return to the blue line. A big-bodied, physical defender with tremendous offensive ability, Byfuglien’s multi-faceted contributions make him a valuable asset in any fantasy format. He's one of the stars of this team, and as such will return to a featured role on the blue line and power play once more this season. Health is always a bit of a concern with Byfuglien, as he’s missed a total of 38 games over the past four seasons to a variety of ailments. However, when he’s healthy, he's one of the hardest-hitting, highest-scoring defensemen in the NHL. Byfuglien played with a dislocated rib in the Jets’ first-round playoff series against the Ducks, but is fully expected to be ready for the start of training camp.
Of all the Jets’ skaters, Byfuglien is probably the hardest to project. He has been a productive fantasy defenseman during his time in Winnipeg, but will reportedly move to forward full-time for the 2014-15 season. He’ll likely play on either the second or third line, although his lack of speed might hinder his ability to play with fleeter guys like Evander Kane and Mark Scheifele. The biggest problem with Byfuglien’s move to forward is that it muddles the team’s power-play units. One would assume that Byfuglien would remain on the point because his big shot is one of his best assets, but there’s no way of determining as much with any certainty. In any event, drafting Byfuglien should be considered something of a risk in 2014-15. His last full season at forward in Chicago resulted in just 17 goals and 17 assists in 82 games, which is 22 points fewer than his total from last season.
Eight goals and 20 assists in 43 games last year with a minus-1 rating were par for the course. That's especially encouraging considering Tobias Enstrom (back) only appeared in 22 games last season. The two should pick up where they left off on the power play, making Dusty a top pick on the blue line once again, especially if he's eligible at multiple positions in your fantasy league. 15 goals and 50+ points should offset a sometimes shaky plus/minus, especially if he plays more than 70 games.
Overcoming a slow start to the season and then an injury to his knee that sidelined him throughout December and January, Byfuglien cemented himself as one of the league's most dominant blueline-defenseman during the second half of 2011-2012. Throwing out his slow start in October, Buff finished the season with 49 points in 55 games. Now that his legal woes from summer of 2011 are finally behind him, expect "Big Buff" to rack up the hits and shots-on-goal in 2012-2013 much the same way he did last season.
Byfuglien hushed critics who said he would not be able to make an impact as a defenseman last year by having the best season of his career with 53 points (20 goals, 33 assists). That said, the blueliner only managed 13 points from the turn of the new year onward. He's still worth being taken high in your 2011-12 fantasy draft, but his teammate Tobias Enstrom might be the better pick just based on consistency.
Dustin Byfuglien (Right Wing) As a result of the Chicago Blackhawks decision to dismantle their Stanley Cup championship team of 2010, the Atlanta Thrashers found themselves with playoff standout Dustin Byfuglien. Byfuglien proved he can perform under the spotlight, scoring 11 goals in the ‘Hawks run to the cup (most of them in the final two rounds). Add to that a solid regular season that boasted 17 goals and 17 assists for 34 points, and you can see how the Thrashers will benefit from having the grit and physical play of Byfuglien in the other teams crease on either of the top two lines, and the PP. With the loss of Maxim Afinigenov to Russia, and the drop in production from Slava Kozlov and Bryan Little in 2009, big things are expected of Byfuglien. Expect another career year for Dusty with highs in goals (25) and points (40+) as he sets out to prove his ’09 playoff run was not just a fluke. Contract Info Signed through 2011 at $3 Million per season. The deal was finalized in May of 2008
): His numbers might not sound like something special - 15 goals and 16 assists - but Byfuglien has proven to be a versatile player after moving up from the blue line to the wing last season. If you're playing in a league where he's still got blue-line eligibility, his fantasy value increases significantly. Byfuglien uses his 6-3, 246-pound frame to camp out in front of opposing netminders and to deliver bone-crushing hits on the opposition. The big fella could reach the 20-goal mark this season as he grows more accustomed to his new role up front, especially if the Hawks continue to work in him with their second power-play unit.
Byfuglien is expected to be a winger this season, but he should still maintain his defenseman eligibility in most leagues. If you can slide him into one of the defensive slots on your roster, then look to grab him a little early. Getting forward production out of a defensive slot can help a team catapult to the top of a fantasy league.
Byfuglien starts the season with Rockford of the AHL, mainly because he was injured with a pulled muscle in his rib cage. He could see some time with the Hawks later this season.
An underrated defenseman who is built like an NFL defensive lineman at 6-foot-3, 254 pounds. the 21-year-old defenseman was impressive in his NHL debut in 2005-06 in 25 games with three goals and a pair of assists. If given a chance and in the right situation could flourish.