Dustin Byfuglien Isn't Too Fat Unless He's Too Fat To Move

James Guillory-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Who Cares if Dustin Byfuglien is a Big Fatty Fat? It doesn't seem to be affecting his play.

Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun caught up withDustin Byfuglien this week and got some great quotes regarding Big Buff's weight. Byfuglien says he doesn’t see his weight as a problem "as long as he's able to move." Blake Wheeler agreed with the sentiment and added, "I don’t care if he’s 350 pounds." Now, before you get too carried away, be aware that these quotes have been taken completely out of context.

Why? Because it amuses me, because I agree with them and also because I want to illustrate that context is everything.

The much ballyhooed picture floating throughout the web has been less than flattering to Byfuglien's physique. But being overweight isn't necessarily relative to body shape. Everyone carries their weight differently and Big Buff is a big bugger to begin with. Ultimately, fans shouldn't care what Buff weighs, so long as it isn’t affecting his play. Thus far, it doesn't seem to have affected his play.

Now, let’s get into the meat and potatoes of the argument. Ahh hell, since it's Byfuglien, let's add some bread, butter and a little more meat to it, shall we.

If Byfuglien's early season struggles weren't related to his fitness, what caused them?

Some of the issues were system related. Claude Noel shifted tactics, forwards failed to rotate when Byfuglien pinched and this left the team vulnerable. Another major contributor was Buff rotation of D-partners. Of course,Tobias Enstrom's injury was a big part of this.

Remember when Noel paired him with Mark Stuart? The results weren’t pretty.

Byfuglien is a rover, this much is true. He freelances and gets caught pinching, but when paired with the right partner he has been very very effective. Ideally, that partner is Enstrom. Unfortunately for Buff, they spent most of the season apart.

Let’s take a look at the stat-line, broken down by defensive partner:

First - we'll cover Corsi because nerds love Corsi (all numbers are 5 on 5):

Player

TOI

CF

CF/20

CA

CA/20

CF%

TOBIAS ENSTROM

724:41:00

788

21.747

623

17.194

0.558

JOHNNY ODUYA

210:06:00

199

18.943

181

17.23

0.524

MARK STUART

159:38:00

158

19.795

165

20.672

0.489

Now let’s look at goals:

Player


TOI


GF


GF/20


GA


GA/20


GF%


TOBIAS ENSTROM

724:41:00

35

0.966

32

0.883

0.522

JOHNNY ODUYA

210:06:00

8

0.762

6

0.571

0.571

MARK STUART

159:38:00

4

0.501

15

1.879

0.211

All numbers taken from http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com

So, what do these numbers tell us?

  • They tell us that Stuart and Byfuglien were a TERRIBLE combination.
  • All of Buff’sminuses came with Stuart on the ice.
  • Hey, Johnny O wasn’t half bad.
  • Buff and Toby are a dynamic pairing.
  • Is it possible that playing with Stuart negatively impacts Buff’s fitness?
  • Other notes:

  • Big Buff led all Jets in time-on-ice per game. That doesn’tsound like something that someone with a fitness issue could do. Well, unless Noel is an even bigger joker than we thought.
  • Buff led all Jets in average shift length. His average shift length of 57 seconds was tied for 5th highest in the league, so it is possible his extends his shifts a little longer than he should. I actually do see this as an issue, but it is easily correctable.
  • Lots of Buff’s boo-boos came at the end of long shifts, where he took it upon himself to go for one last rush. Buff has to realize that jumping back over the boards is the right play.
  • Byfuglien may be a little overweight, but the extra weight he packs on could be akin to the weigh an average person puts on over the holidays. He is a massive dude.
  • Long term, I worry a little about Buff's knees holding up under his mass, but I'd have this concern if he was fit as a fiddle too. Big dudes are prone to knee problems and Buff has already had some.
  • Buff made a few highlight reel gaffes, but I always thought they were more memorable than plentiful. Buff needs to clean up the errors, but he is already a very very effective player.
  • I see confirmation bias as a big reason for Buff's criticism. People expect Buff to be slow of out of shape, so the assume that is the reason for his errors. It is not.

Dustin Byfuglien'sweight has been a point of contention and has faced much scrutiny. The issue has been beaten to death, that's why it's time to focus on other issues and demonstrate just how effective he was. If Noel is able to keep Buff away from Stuart, I expect him to have another big year.

You should too, regarless of how you feel towards his weight concerns.... or non-concerns.

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