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Dustin Byfuglien - Overrated? Or Underrated?

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If there's one thing you have to do in a capped league, it's trade your overvalued entry-level contracts as soon as they come to RFA status.  And after Chicago's Stanley Cup run, nobody could be more overvalued than Dustin Byfuglien.  Buf's contributions at even-strength have been very middling the last two seasons, as he faced mediocre competition alongside average linemates and got a reasonable distribution of zone starts:

 

Year Season Buf's O-Zone Start% Team O-Zone Start% Buf's Rank on Team Corsi Rank
2009-10 Playoffs 78.0 54.6 1 1
2009-10 Regular Season 54.4 55.0 10 15
2008-09 Regular Season 57.7 55.6 8 12

 

But in the playoffs, Joel Quenneville used Byfuglien in a very specific offensive role, and all of a sudden he became an offensive superstar.  Don't get me wrong - this was good coaching - but Buf is nowhere near as good a his numbers suggest.  Chicago was wise to dump an expiring contract, and the haul - a #24 pick and a prospect - reflects a league-wide understanding that Buf is just not as good as he appeared to be over the last two months.