Prior to the trade deadline back at the beginning of April, one of the more surprising names that floated out there a bit was that of Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien. It wasn’t exactly out there a ton, but the fact that the Jets were believed to have made him available was very intriguing.
As another disappointing season comes to an end for this organization, many are left wondering whether or not Byfuglien will find his way out of town before the summer comes to an end. Some writers have even suggested that such a move would be the right one for the Jets.
However, that’s not actually the case. The Jets are a team lacking in role players, not in core players. They have a nice nucleus of talent, particularly at forward. Getting rid of Byfuglien would solve virtually nothing for the Jets as an organization.
Byfuglien has been one of the most productive defensemen in the league over the past several seasons since joining the Jets organization. His first two years with the club featured back-to-back point totals of 53, including 20 goals in his first year.
He followed up with 28 this season, which could indicate that he’d have topped those numbers, which were career highs, if this were a full season. He’s proven to be a weapon on the power play as well, with 19 points on the man advantage last year, and 10 of his 28 coming on the PP this season.
Skilled offensive defensemen don’t exactly grow on trees. If the Jets were to make Buff available and try to move him, they likely could relatively easily. But the return that would come along with it would likely include draft picks, none of which would be as sure a thing as Byfuglien has proven to be.
Is he without inconsistency? Not at all. And let’s face it, he could stand to stay away from the buffet a bit more, as his conditioning in the past couple of offseasons has been lackluster, and that’s putting it lightly. But Byfuglien is not to be blamed for the struggles of this team.
Perhaps the front office can add a bit more around this core that they do have in place this summer. If they can add a decent enough supporting cast, with some solid depth and role players, this is a team that can be a threat in the Eastern Conference. Moving Dustin Byfuglien in all of that, though, would be a step backward.