Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
Winnipeg Jets NHL Jets Home NHL Jets Facebook NHL Jets Twitter NHL Jets Instagram NHL Jets Official Youtube Page Sign Up for Jets Mail Mobile App Buy Tickets
Reading Takes Flight Reading Takes Flight Facebook Instagram Manage Your Account Jets Pass HQ

Byfuglien excited about NHL's return to Manitoba

Saturday, 25.06.2011 / 3:32 PM / Feature
NHL.com
X
Share with your Friends


Byfuglien excited about NHL\'s return to Manitoba
Dustin Byfuglien - the closest thing to a hometown star with Winnipeg\'s new franchise - is excited for NHL hockey\'s return to Manitoba.
ST. PAUL – Winnipeg is new territory for most members of the recently relocated franchise now known as the Jets.

The current Jets roster doesn't feature any Manitoba-born players, so 2010 playoffs scoring star-turned-defenseman Dustin Byfuglien might have to serve as the club's honorary Manitoban. Byfuglian, who grew up in Roseau, Minn., stopped by the NHL Entry Draft on Saturday morning.

Roseau is a two-hour trip from Winnipeg – a short hop by prairie standards – and Byfuglien logged a brief stint with the Western Hockey League's Brandon Wheat Kings at the start of his junior career. Brandon is a quick drive down the Trans-Canada Highway and the team counts new Winnipeg senior vice president and general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and executive vice president and director of hockey operations/assistant general manager Craig Heisinger among its alumni.

Since then, Byfuglien's career has blossomed. The 26-year-old won a Stanley Cup in 2010 with Chicago, where Cheveldayoff then served as an assistant general manager. A trade last summer that included Winnipeg captain Andrew Ladd sent Byfuglien to the former Atlanta franchise, and Byfuglien delivered a career-best season with 20 goals and 33 assists over 81 games after becoming a fulltime defenseman.

Now Byfuglien is on the move again, though this journey will bring him closer to Roseau. Byfuglien said he expects more requests from his family. Given that Winnipeg sold 13,000 season-ticket deposits in just four days and a Jets ticket could be among the most sought-after in the League, it may not be easy for Byfuglien.

But Byfuglien said he believes that a full MTS Centre is going to be a tremendous boost for the Jets. What's more, he expressed support for True North Sports & Entertainment Limited's decision to respond to intense public fervour for the club to adopt the Jets name.

"It's going to be fun," Byfuglien said. "It's going to be exciting. Any time you have a full building behind you, it's just like having another player on the ice."

Winnipeg's oft-discussed winter climate will not be an issue, Byfuglien predicted.

The Jets in turn hope to repay the local enthusiasm by delivering a hard-working club with a young core that is beginning to find its way in the League.  The former Atlanta franchise reached the Stanley Cup playoffs only in over 11 seasons, and the club has not played a postseason game since 2007. But Byfuglien sees reason for hope.

"It will be a fun team to watch," Byfuglien said. "Everyone should be excited. I think we're more than capable of making [the playoffs], and there is no reason that we should be satisfied with not making it."

Yet another change for Byfuglien and his teammates is new head coach Claude Noel, who will in turn hire an all-new coaching staff.

"Good guy -- I have no problems so far," Byfuglien said, smiling.

Author: Patrick Williams | NHL.com Correspondent

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 49 32 11 6 146 130 70
2 NSH 47 31 10 6 145 112 68
3 STL 47 30 13 4 153 115 64
4 CHI 48 30 16 2 151 112 62
5 WPG 50 26 16 8 140 127 60
6 SJS 49 26 17 6 137 135 58
7 VAN 46 26 17 3 124 118 55
8 CGY 49 26 20 3 140 127 55
9 LAK 48 21 15 12 133 129 54
10 DAL 48 22 19 7 152 157 51
11 COL 49 20 18 11 128 141 51
12 MIN 48 22 20 6 131 138 50
13 ARI 48 17 25 6 111 161 40
14 EDM 49 13 27 9 113 162 35

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Ladd 50 17 23 9 40
B. Little 50 18 20 9 38
B. Wheeler 50 13 23 10 36
D. Byfuglien 50 12 21 8 33
M. Perreault 47 17 14 0 31
M. Frolik 50 10 17 6 27
M. Scheifele 50 7 20 3 27
E. Kane 35 10 12 3 22
A. Lowry 49 6 9 3 15
J. Trouba 34 5 9 4 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Hutchinson 14 5 2 .932 2.00
O. Pavelec 12 11 6 .911 2.52
 
Join Jets Cadets Kids Club!