Sep 17, 2013; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets defenseDustin Byfuglien
(33) during the third period at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports
#2: Dustin Byfuglien
Dustin Byfuglien is the leader of the blue-line in hockey’s newest team. The Winnipeg Jets want to make the playoffs for the first time ever, and they are going to have to rely on #33 to pull through if they want to get there. However, Big Buff isn’t in Chicago anymore, and his game hasn’t hit the same level since he won the Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010. After transforming from a defenseman into a big burly forward, Byfuglien found huge success, and was a key part of the playoff run in that season. Since then, he has had two questionable summers, with a DUI charge in one, and a huge weight gain in the other. Byfuglien was moved to Atlanta, (now Winnipeg), and moved back to defense. Compared to a defenseman in a similar role, Marc Methot of the Ottawa Senators for example, Byfuglien’s $5,200,000 cap hit is substantially more than Methot’s $3 million deal, and Methot went +2 in 2013 as Byfuglien went -1. However, Byfuglien has been reported to be in ‘the best shape ever’ coming into the 2013-14 campaign, so he has the opportunity to change his image. For now though, he is still among the league’s most overrated.