Dustin Byfuglien, Person of Interest?


Big Dustin Byfuglien has been a fixture in trade rumours the last few years, and a favoured whipping boy of the Winnipeg press. I’ve said before that he’d be a fantastic fit on the Oilers’ blue line, but the people who run the team don’t spend a lot of time asking me for my view of Edmonton’s defence corps.

But I bet they talk to new defensive coach Craig Ramsay about it, and few NHL coaches could speak as authoritatively about Byfuglien’s utility on the back end.

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Craig Ramsay

Along with virtually half the Blackhawks, Byfuglien was dumped to Atlanta in the summer of 2010 as Chicago struggled to get itself under the NHL salary cap.

Craig Ramsay was the new head coach of the Thrashers at that time, and he had an interesting plan for the right wing.

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The results were everything anybody could have hoped for, as Byfuglien logged more than 19 minutes per night at even strength on the Atlanta blue line, putting him comfortably in the top-20 of NHL defencemen in minutes played. He was effective, too, as a quick look at the Norris Trophy voting from that season confirms:

Rk. Player Votes
1 Nicklas Lidstrom 736
2 Shea Weber 727
3 Zdeno Chara 688
4 Lubomir Visnovsky 573
5 Keith Yandle 312
6 Kris Letang 144
7 Dustin Byfuglien 33
8 Christian Ehrhoff 28
9 Duncan Keith 24
10 Carle, Doughty, Pronger 8

Here & Now

The end of season quotes on Byfuglien’s future were pretty interesting.

Dustin Byfuglien on whether he will be staying at forward:

I hope not. It’s been done before so it wasn’t the end of the world. I just had to go do my job and that’s it. Yeah, I always prefer defence first, but whatever they tell me to do, I’ll just go do.

Head coach Paul Maurice on whether Dustin Byfuglien will be staying at forward:

Dustin will be starting at forward.


Defensive mess

Byfuglien would instantly be the best defenceman in the Oilers’ system.

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He’d add a heavy shot at the right point of the power play, something Edmonton has lacked for a while now. He’d add some size on the back end (6’5”, 265 pounds) and as his 213 hits this season show he isn’t afraid to use it. He’s 29 years old and under contract for two more years.

But the biggest point is the first one: Byfuglien would instantly be the best defenceman in the Oilers’ system.


  • BlazingSaitls

    I concur with a lg dubi dubi. YES PLEASE

    Ive been throwing around Big Buffs name on my wish list for some time now. If this ever did happened I hope Eakins would let the big horse gallop and not worry about eating his damn veggies! lol

    • Dockstaff

      Gagner and swap 1st round picks
      Petry and swap 1st round picks

      Winnipeg could use Gags; either on Little’s wing or replace Jokinen at Centre and put Wheeler and/or Ladd on his wings. Winnipeg lacks a speedy, skilled forward (Kane only shows up 1/3 of the time).


    Winnipeg wants to make the playoffs. So for us to get big buff, we will have to move a roster player.

    Eberle or Perron would likely have to go back

    Perron + 2015 1st + Marincin for buff + Kane

    Maybe Kane grows up.

    Only reason I put Perron so because he wasn’t included as part of the core. We do need more Perrons not less.

  • geeker99


    I love the idea of grabbing Byfuglien, but what do you think it would cost to acquire him? Do you think the Jets would take either the #3pick for him straight up? Or would you be willing to move a Yakupov, Maricin or Klefbom to get him?


      • camdog

        Would you be willing to move Perron and Petry for Byfuglien?

        If Byfuglien was on the block imagine Philly would offer up a lot for him. Maybe Coburn does land in Edmonton via a 3 way deal with Winnipeg.

  • Sounds expensive (only b/c Buff would fill a gapping hole for the Oilers) but I’m sure there’s a player for player swap there to be had, if not then I could live with a Roster player and the picks we got for Hemmer! lol

  • nuge2drai

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    2015 First Rounder, Gagner and Petry


    Big Buff

    Trying to come up with a trade in which we keep Yakupov, the 3rd overall, Marincin and Klefbom….

  • Just thinking about this a little bit, I wonder if (hypothetically) there isn’t a Perron-Byfuglien deal to be made. Winnipeg wants to use him as a forward, and Perron has to be a comparable player at that position. Add in that Perron’s about $1.5MM cheaper and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets thought hard about Perron+ if it were offered to them.

  • BlazingSaitls

    Could there be a huge 3 team (or more) trade going on? A trade where Oilers eat a huge contract from a team looking to dump salary. A trade with draft pick swapping, prospects, roster players, future considerations. Could this be the beginning of the Bold Move Era?

    Its going to take Bold Moves from MacT to get Big Buff. Ill defer to wiser members of Oilernation to throw names around but I think there could be fireworks at the draft and Im really looking forward to it.

    P.S. For the first time in my life I actually started watching soccer. #ThanksKevin

  • Jayz

    So you’re all nuts. Eberle is going nowhere, and Gagner has zero worth, it’s going to be Perron and klefbom, and I don’t even make that trade… Offer a really fair contract to Niskanin and stop chasing other teams headaches just because they bring “size”.
    Anyone care to elaborate why buff was thrown on the wing ? Someone who was chased off the blue line on a fringe playoff team hardly qualifies as the “best” Dman we would have if he was to be traded here… Just stop .. You are embarrassing yourself JW

  • Jayz

    I’d love to get Buf, but it will cost Eberle. Are you willing to give that up? I might be, but the dangler fans will lose their minds.

    and here’s another question: why is giving up Perron so palatable, yet giving up Eberle a complete nonstarter? They tied in goals last year, and Perron is a lot feistier and more of a pain the side of the opposition. Is it because Perron is a whopping 2 years older? They’re essentially the same player, both later 1st rounders. If anything, Perron brings more; yet he’s trade bait, and Eberle is untouchable.

    so strange.

  • Jayz

    Buff will not be traded player for player. Expect the Jets to want player and first round pick or prospect. Just remember other teams will be offering Jets the farm for him. Jets will never resign him. Especially trade deadline day. #gojetsgo

  • Jayz

    DB has a limited NTC… 5 teams that he can submit that he wouldn’t go to. I can guess one team who would likely be included in that list. Also, he’s signed for two more years… Do you give up Eberle who’s signed for significantly more for a guy who can walk in 2? That’s why Perron fits better. Shorter contract is less value, even if I feel he’s a better Oiler fit and need than Ebs. Fact: Byfuglien is a better fit on the oilers as a fwd OR a dman than either Perron or Ebs.

    I suppose we could dream he would want to come here with Ramsey on board, but I suspect it’s just that. A dream.

  • knee deep in it

    The jets don’t seem keen to resign jokinen so they have a hole at center. I wonder if Gagner (50% retained) and one of klefbom or marincin gets it done?

    Btw, even if buff had a 5 team no trade list, having Ramsay here would probably be enough to get him to waive. Buff had his best years playing for Ramsay and players don’t forget that

    • Dockstaff

      Gagner does have worth, he just needs the right mix. Wpg needs a player like him, LA used to until Gaborik showed up. Unfortunately Gags no longer has the worth to go straight up for Byfuglien.

      To quote PJ Stock, “Jokinen is a cancer.” Gagner would be an improvement; his weaknesses are exposed ona team that has no backcheck, but in Wpg, Gags won’t be so exposed.

    • a lg dubl dubl

      Im tired of the damn lottery pick, I really don’t care who gets traded, outside the top 3 kids, to get this team back to a winning record. I want to cheer for the Oilers in the playoffs not some other team just because I put 20 bucks down on them (and won).

      Aiming for “next years lottery pick” is more fools gold than Braydon Coburn. This team needs to win starting this season, not “after McDavid”.

      Trade ONE of this years or next years 1st rounder and ONE of Klefbom or Marincin to get a couple players that can help Hall Ebrele and RNH take the Oilers to the playoffs, or close to it NEXT YEAR, otherwise the top 3 will be asking for a trade.

      Sorry Im just tired of getting lottery picks yr after yr after yr after yr. #thankskevin

  • camdog

    What kool-aid has everybody been drinking this morning?

    Desperation seems to be in full bloom: “Buff, phaneuf, letang, cobourn…. Can we at least get one? Anyone…. Please get someone…” Wow!

    As for Buf: “Just remember other teams will be offering Jets the farm for him.” Really? His reputation isn’t that great. Winnipeg may be happy to get rid of him. Would Buf or Kane fit into the Oilers’ dressing room with the present crew? Doubtful. Their records indicate both are high maintenance.

    Let’s hope that MacT isn’t desperate. This organization has made some major blunders in acquiring players before and have paid a heavy price for all the mistakes.

    • J.R.

      Dude, you have to admit these are desperate times.

      A bit of an overpay for a good player is likely what we’ll see here, otherwise it’ll be a repeat of the last two years at the draft when no deals got done.

      Nobody wants to bring in a problem guy but what do you do when you need a rare stud d-man and you only have a shot at a couple of guys? The Oilers just need a calculated risk to not bite them in the ass for once.

  • WeridAl

    Edmonton’s D sucks, so lets go out and trade for a D that cannot play D. Really makes a lot of sense. But, but he has a great shot from the point. Than you trade a ton for him, to only see him play 2yrs, because big Buf will run the 1st chance he gets. Than there is the fact Dustin Byfuglien has a weight problem. People are living in the past with this one, Dustin Byfuglien made a name for himself as a forward, but his D is severely lacking.

  • knee deep in it

    Not sold on Buff , nor Phaneuf for that matter . Today , Hockeybuzz says Oilers about to make an offer for Phaneuf Leafs can’t turn down . Hockeybuzz claims Phaneuf closer to being an Oiler than a Leaf .

    • knee deep in it

      We all like to hear the rumours around here but to quote Eklund is like quoting Nuge2Nail or Quicksilver Ballet. He has no sources or the worst sources i’m not sure which it is. but allow me to repeat some of his rumours at this years trade deadline.

      Moulson and Stewart reportedly going to Ottawa.

      Bruins and Devils making big push to get Edler.

      Red Wings making a big offer to acquire Vanek.

      Bruins, Hawks and Canadians all heavily involved in talks to get Stempniak.

      Gagner to TB….. Need i say more?

    • knee deep in it

      HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA at the fact you actually believe Hockeybuzz. That site is only good for one thing, laughing.

  • camdog

    Trading for Byfuglien would be huge! Ideal situation would be a 3-1 trade where we don’t have to give up a top 6 but I’d go as far as Eberle straight up.

    Byfuglien has holes in his game like every other available top dman but it should be clear that he’d be miles ahead of anyone on our roster and a leap forward in this rebuild!

  • D

    Edmonton fans have suffered a long time under this rebuild. The idea of trading any of Yak, Eberle, etc. (players that took the Oilers years of suck to get) just to get the rights to a player like Byfuglien reminds me of the Nylander-Heatley-Vanek days.

    I know this sentiment will likely be unpopular on this blog, but what I really hope the Oilers do is stay put with their current roster, draft either Ekblad or one of the C’s available at #3, make limited adjustments on other areas of the roster, and call it a day.

    Then the good people at Eakins-Ramsay et. al. can sit the team down, and tell them to look around, and get used to each other. And that this is the roster that needs to grow up, start competing, and stop waiting for some outsider to come in and solve their problems.

    Need a stud D? Hey Marincin, Petry, Klefbom, Schultz – why don’t one of you step up and be that stud D the Oilers so desperately need? Or better yet, why not all of you?

    • bwar

      There is a lot of sensibility in your post and while I do mostly agree with your thinking. There needs to be a change in the mix so to speak to survive the Western Conference. I don’t believe that any of Hall/RNH/Eberle are in discussion and Yak(only because his trade value isn’t worth it at this time). But one of Klefbom or Marincin. One of Perron, 2014’s 1st, or 2015’s 1st. And of course Gagner would have to be considered to add some functional toughness to the lineup. Maybe not big Buff but perhaps someone like Simmonds or a big tough 1st Pair D man? These types of players have high value and require a high price to acquire. But I agree we are not trying to win the Stanley Cup in one season. That type of mindset usually keeps teams hovering in the middle of the league.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Dont trade for buff,this is what oilers should do

    trade ganger,klefbom and 2015 1st to philly for coutourier and coburn

    swap picks with toronto and throw in yakapov for phanuef.

    hope to get someone out of free angency.this teams defence would be great with neon dion and coburn mixed in with marincin,nurse,jshultz and pety for years to come,with the additions of scrivens and fasth this team woul;d be solid.coutourier shores up our 2nd line center.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    i find it kind of funny after listening to an interview in TSN radio here from a Winnipeg media wag this past week that Dustin can’t play defense well, yet everybody and his dog it seems wants the guy here. we already have a bunch of d-men that can’t play defense and we should add another? too bad he just doesn’t play forward….he seems better suited for it.

  • camdog

    The Oilers have by my count 6 roster players that would garner any trade value. Hall, RNH, Eberle, Shultz, Perron and Petry. Trading any of these players just creates another hole in the line up.

    And then we could trade a prospect type player like Yakopov, Marancin, Nurse, Klefbomb and the 3rd.

    Reality is we don’t really have enough in the system to start packaging players off to acquire bigger fish. We are still 2-3 years away from being ready to make a big trade.