Dustin Byfuglien was a simply amazing player. He was already a Stanley Cup winner when he got traded to the Atlanta Thrashers in 2010, and although he didn’t win it again, he still goes down as one of the best defensemen this side of the century.
Byfuglien had been important for the Blackhawks when they won the cup in 2009, but it was nothing compared to how important he was when his team relocated and became the Winnipeg Jets.
Byfuglien could do it all. He was great at playing defense, with the physical side being his greatest asset. And the combination of his size and skill was almost unique, and it was so fun to watch.
Byfuglien could destroy people with massive hits and, seconds later, deke opponents and score beautiful goals. Not every player can do both, but Big Buff did it all the time.
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Byfuglien had a hard shot on him as well, and one time, during the All-Stars skill competition, he scored a penalty goal, so crazy his teammate called it the craziest they’d ever seen.
Byfuglien took the puck, pushed it forward, let go with one hand of his stick, and then, with just one arm, took a slap shot so hard the keeper had no chance of saving it.
Most people can’t even shoot the puck that hard with two arms, but Big Buff just needed one, and his teammate, Connor Hellebuyck, was shocked.
”It was the greatest penalty shot I’ve ever seen of all time. It just came out of nowhere. He came down nonchalant, and pulls that off, and everyone’s draw just dropped,” he said on the 32 Thoughts Podcast.
Dustin Byfuglien stopped playing hockey in the summer of 2019, and in April 2020, Byfuglien and the Winnipeg Jets agreed on terminating his contract, worth $14 million.
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