Big Buff needs to be a big plus

It’s very easy to tie one players statistical success with the teams success but perhaps no player on the Jets is as important than Dustin Byfuglien. After eight games Buff was a minus 6 and lead the team in shots. For those of you unaware Byfuglien is a defenseman and plays the game like I play defense; all over the ice looking to score first and defend second. After the 9-8 game vs the Flyers, Byfuglien was a plus 1 and the Jets managed to win.

While the Jets are offensively challenged and some points from the back end would be nice, it cannot come at the expense of defending their own net.

The Jets will not win many games this year if their top defenseman continues to be a major liability in their own end. Statistically speaking winning teams are built on solid defense and generate offense on turnovers and solid two way play.

Byfuglien is not afraid to shoot the puck but he seems unable to make solid judgement calls on when to join the attack. This has cost and will continue to cost the Jets in the win column unless they can get Byfuglien to play defense first.

Even in an unorthodox game like we saw last night the Jets managed to win. And while Byfuglien was on the ice for a few goals against he finished the game a plus one. While that game was proof that the Jets do need to be more responsible in their own end they managed to get the win.

If the Jets are to win Byfuglien needs to get his act in gear and find himself on the ice more when the Jets score. If he scores, that’s great, but his success as a player should not be judged by how many goals and assists he gets this season but by how good or bad his plus minus is.

That will tell us if Buff will be more of a liability than an asset as this team tries to build itself into a contender.

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Jeff Stevenson is a co-founder of winnipegwhiteout.com and co-host of the popular Jets Hockey Podcast. He grew up in Winnipeg, MB and became very passionate about sports, hockey and the Jets. Now Jeff is proud and honored to help bring news and information about the Winnipeg Jets to fans around the world.