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11-30-2012, 07:13 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
As a Winnipeg fan I'd seriously consider it. At least in the sense that I'd seriously consider trading Byfuglien for the best package available. Maybe they could find a better offer, but if this was the best I'd be comfortable with it.
People make a lot of Byfuglien's free lancing style. Personally, it doesn't bother me too much because it genuinely seems (and the stats bear it out) that he create more goals for the Jets than for their opposition.
However, the critical flaw I see in Byfuglien is that due to his easy going attitude, natural charisma and (frankly, spectacular) on ice abilities, he is a guy that the Jets younger players look to as a leader but to be blunt, I don't think he's up to the challenge.
To this point in his career Byfuglien has treated hockey like it's his job 82 evenings a year, not 365 days a year. Basically he doesn't put the time in away from the rink to maximize his talents and despite this fact, his ridiculous natural abilities still allow him to be a reasonably effective NHLer. If he worked as hard in the off season as, say, Chara he'd be an absolute lock for top 5 in Norris voting every year, but to this point in his career he doesn't seem to realize that, or, he realizes it and just doesn't have to drive to actually put in the time.
To be clear, I truly believe that Byfuglien leaves it all on the ice during the season. His record of playing through injuries, playing big minutes and fighting through unfavorable matchups speak volumes to that. The problem is, it he worked harder in the off season, he'd have noticeably more to leave on the ice.
For a team like Winnipeg to find long term success they need their young players to learn how hard they have to work to get as much as possible out of their talent. With Byfuglien as a dressing room leader, I question whether or not they'll figure it out.
Over the years in the NHL it seems that good teams come together when enough talent is accumulated, but great teams come together when the most talented players on a good team are also the hardest working.
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