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Last September, Dustin Byfuglien appeared in a photo from former Chicago Blackhawks teammate Dave Bolland’s wedding in which he appeared … well, we’ll just let the headline do the talking: “Dustin Byfuglien apparently not locked out of his refrigerator this summer.”
Speculation was that Big Buff was weighing in over three bills at that time, which wasn’t really all that surprising given that he weighed 286 pounds when he was arrested for suspicion of impaired boating in Summer 2011.
Thing is: This has always been Byfuglien’s fitness cycle: Balloon in the offseason, drop the weight during the season. For a person his size, weight gain is going to seem more extreme than the same percentage of body fat gain for a smaller individual, and it’s the same with the weight loss.
But it appears in 2013, Byfuglien broke the cycle. And not just by sitting on it.
As Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press writes, Big Buff’s “fitness slipped” this season, causing inconsistency in the Winnipeg Jets defenseman’s game and, reportedly, a rather portly comportment by season’s end.
It was evident Byfuglien grew heavier this season as the games moved on and according to accredited Jets blogger Pete Tessier, the player's weight rose to 302 pounds by season's end.
If there's any truth to this number, Byfuglien is virtually untradeable. Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff can't engage in trade talks with another GM and keep Byfuglien's weight off the table until the very end -- then hit his colleague with an, "oh, by the way, Buff's a little big right now."
… We'll leave the debate as to what the team should comment on to the Jets, as it's their business. But Byfuglien's late-season appearance and coach Claude Noel's clear displeasure with him were red flags. Did Buff weigh three bills during an NHL season? Don't know. But it's not unimaginable.
(Lawless goes to great lengths defending Pete Tessier’s reputation in the piece, which is probably why he left out one word in describing his hockeywriting career: HockeyBuzz, where Tessier blogs.)
Lawless believes that with a $5.75 million price tag and with his conditioning a greater concern now that ever before, Byfuglien is untradeable.
We wouldn’t go that far, based on his talent and unique skills set. But there’s no question that getting a proper return for Dustin Byfuglien must weigh heavily on GM Kevin Cheveldayoff.