Welcome to the 12 days of Jetsmas Christmas Countdown. In this series, we will be putting our own spin on the classic ’12 Days of Christmas’ by counting down the days to Christmas and relating the number to a specific area of Jets lore. Whether it be current events, or items that go back decades, there is significance with every number. For the start of our series, we get to look at Dustin Byfuglien.
Now you might be wondering what Dustin Byfuglien has to do with the number 12. He wears number 33, he has 21 points this season, he’s won one Stanley Cup, so why was Byfuglien chosen to represent our first day of Jetsmas?
Actually, it’s quite simple. This is Buff’s 12th full season in the NHL. After getting drafted in the 8th round (245th overall) in 2003, Byfuglien played another two years in Prince George before making his way to Norfolk with the Admirals. In 2005-06 and 2006-07, Buff bounced around between the AHL and NHL before finally getting his big break in 2007. Byfuglien never looked back and has had a tremendous career over the past 12 years.
It’s no secret that Buff is a tremendous hockey player but when looking at some of the accomplishments throughout Byfuglien’s career, there are some very unique items.
Dustin Byfuglien became the 14th player in NHL history drafted in the eighth round or later to record 500 career points. Byfuglien has collected 391 points in 576 GP with the @NHLJets / Thrashers and 109 in 260 GP w/ CHI. #NHLStats #WPGvsDET pic.twitter.com/qbAHg1YXEX
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) October 27, 2018
Earlier this season Byfuglien scored his 500th career point which is a great milestone in itself. It’s even more impressive given the start to Byfuglien’s career with his late round selection and the way he’s climbed the ranks from the AHL to an elite defensemen in the NHL.
Byfuglien’s longevity is unique as well, especially considering his rough and tumble style. Among all active NHL players, Byfuglien ranks 6th in penalty minutes (1,065) and 51st in games played (851). His hard-hitting style puts fear into the opposition, especially with hits like this.
While his stats among active players are already impressive, they get even better when comparing to his peers. Despite getting drafted in the eighth round, Buff has the 15th most points of the entire draft class. When looking at only the defensmen from the 2003 draft, he trails only Brent Burns and Ryan Suter in points. Among all these other accolades, the most important one is the Stanley Cup ring he won with Chicago in 2010. He tallied 11 goals and 5 assists in 22 games including a whopping 5 game winning goals. Byfuglien alone was responsible for winning 30% of the games during the Cup run.
While the entire post could talk about Byfuglien’s stats and numbers, there are a few other things that need to get mentioned. The best part of Dustin Byfuglien is his personality. He’s a fun loving guy that isn’t afraid to show emotion, be animated, or even bust a dance move after scoring a goal.
Dustin Byfuglien throws down a little dance celly ? pic.twitter.com/dm9QmpnaLz
— Shayne Pasquino (@shaynepasquino) May 2, 2018
He’s long been mentioned as a leader in the room, well before he was given the ‘A’ on his chest. His infectious antics make for plenty of attention despite his quiet and reserved personality off the ice.
When you on the penalty kill but also need camera time. pic.twitter.com/Wa0amFw1gQ
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) February 7, 2016
What else is there to mention about Dustin Byfuglien? With a larger than life personality and a unique blend of size, speed, and skill, Buff’s 12 year run in the league has been a fun one to watch. It’s fitting that such a big presence on and off the ice leads the way in our 12 days of Jetsmas series.