|Born||March 27, 1985 (1985-03-27) (age 25),
Minneapolis, MN, USA
|6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
265 lb (120 kg; 18 st 13 lb)
|NHL Draft||245th overall, 2003
Dustin Byfuglien (pronounced /ˈbʌflɨn/ BUF-lin or rarely /baɪfuːɡliən/ bye-FOOG-lee-ən born March 27, 1985) is an American professional ice hockey player for the Atlanta Thrashers of the National Hockey League (NHL). Drafted as a defenseman, he has played both forward and defense in his career, but is currently playing defense.
Byfuglien was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Cheryl Byfuglien and father Ricky Spencer. His mother is of Norwegian descent, and his father is African American. Cheryl moved to Roseau with Dustin to be closer to her family while Ricky stayed in Minneapolis to continue college; the two never wed. In Roseau, Byfuglien was exposed to the game of hockey where he found an instant love for the sport, which soon turned into a calling. Byfuglien's stepfather, Dale Smedsmo, played four games in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1972, and 110 games in the World Hockey Association.
Due to academic ineligibility in Roseau, Byfuglien first moved to Warrenville IL, a suburb of Chicago, to play AAA under 18 hockey for the Chicago Mission then moved to Canada in hopes of not ruining any chance he could possibly have at playing hockey. In Canada, he played major junior hockey in the WHL. The Chicago Blackhawks drafted him in 2003. He has a reputation for playing with intensity, grit and determination.
Originally a defenseman at the start of the 2007–08 season, he was moved to a right wing position to give the team a larger body near the net, an experiment that has proven successful.
The forward excelled in his third professional season, becoming the first Rockford IceHogs player to earn the American Hockey League's Player of the Week award, when he scored one goal and had five assists in four games. Byfuglien had seven points in eight games with Rockford. Byfuglien earned a recall on November 3 to the Chicago Blackhawks and never returned to the IceHogs. He had a goal in his first shift with the Blackhawks in the 2007–08 NHL season on November 3 against the St. Louis Blues and recorded his first career hat trick (three goals in one game) against the Phoenix Coyotes on November 30. He finished tied for fifth on the team with 19 goals and 36 points in his third season with the team, all while making a transition to forward throughout the campaign.
On June 24, 2010, Byfuglien was traded by Chicago, along with Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and Akim Aliu to the Atlanta Thrashers for a 1st and 2nd round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Marty Reasoner, Joey Crabb and Jeremy Morin.
|2001–02||Brandon Wheat Kings||WHL||3||0||0||0||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|2002–03||Brandon Wheat Kings||WHL||8||1||1||2||4||—||—||—||—||—|
|2002–03||Prince George Cougars||WHL||48||9||28||37||74||5||1||3||4||12|
|2003–04||Prince George Cougars||WHL||66||16||29||45||137||—||—||—||—||—|
|2004–05||Prince George Cougars||WHL||64||22||36||58||184||—||—||—||—||—|