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08-12-2012, 12:00 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Winnipeg
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Originally Posted by Jet View Post
I have to admit, I was as frustrated with Byfuglien's style of play as anyone on here last year (check the boards, I was pretty harsh on him )

However, I think because he has been in the league for a while everyone thinks wysiwyg with him. The fact is, the guy is still a pup in terms of the development of an NHL defenseman. Last year was only his second as a full time d man. When you throw in the success he has had (points scored, winning a cup) I'm sure it has been more of a challenge to convince Byfuglien to: be in better shape, and to play more of a system and defense first game.

For me the real key will be watching him this year to see if the modest progress in these areas continue. I get the feeling that Dustin is a bit immature or a 'free spirit'. If the coaches continue to reign that in, and he shows more of a committment to learn and improve in his own zone, we could have a real Chara story on our hands.

The guy is massive, he has a great shot, great speed for someone his size and great offensive instincts. If he adds solid defensive play to his game he well may become the best defenseman in the entire league, and I do not think that is an overstatement. As much as I was calling for the Jets to dump him last year, trading him now might be a Chara-esque mistake.

For me, the first big test will be seeing how he comes in to camp. What kind of shape, how is he practicing, etc.
I agree with you in what we need to see from Buff, and I also said in a earlier post I would take back what I said about Buff if we started to see certain changes in his game. There is no doubt he has the talent.

For me I we have found the compromise on this tread. If we start seeing the changes you have highlighted for Buff he can be a true star in this league. Maybe not the best d-man in the league but a valuable # 1 pairing guy. If he continues to seemingly ignore conditioning, plays as a free ranging rover and leads the league in giving up odd man rushes against. And we continue to have this debate season after season IMO we will need to move him or the Jets will never get past being a middling team. I just don't think we can contend with our top defenseman playing the game he currently plays.

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