When the Winnipeg Jets, then the Atlanta Thrashers, acquired Dustin Byfuglien back in 2010, he was coming off of a postseason in which he had starred as a forward.
Prior to that, he had bounced between the forward ranks and the blue line, but had come up as a defenseman with the Chicago Blackhawks. The Jets, then Thrashers, made the decision almost immediately that Byfuglien would join the team as a defenseman. That was until the past week.
The Jets had been trotting Byfuglien out as a forward for a small stretch during the week, in an attempt to jump-start their sluggish offense. That experiment backfired pretty quickly. In one game, Byfuglien was a minus-1, had zero hits, no points, and was a minus-6 as far as his Fenwick was concerned.
On Saturday, Byfuglien was already back on the blue line. Which is perfectly fine. He’s been extremely successful in his time as a defenseman with the Jets organization. With Byfuglien back on defense, the Jets were able to ride to a 4-1 win and snap their five-game losing streak.
Byfuglien has 21 points on the year, which is among the best in the league for defensemen. He has 57 hits, 42 blocked shots, and is a minus-3 for the season. While putting him up on the forward ranks, in hopes that he can rediscover some of that 2009-10 form, sounds nice in theory, it just didn’t work out this time.
The Jets will hope to take that momentum that they built up on Saturday afternoon and put it towards the upcoming week. They’ve been overtaken in the race to win the Southeast Division and are currently on the outside of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference.