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Western Conference

Dustin Byfuglien Leading Jets Towards Potential First West Final

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The Winnipeg Jets are on the verge of their first berth in the Western Conference Final, and 6-foot-5, 260-pound Dustin Byfuglien is leafing the charge.

His play, which has included timely goals and tough defense, has been impressive as the Jets inch closer to history.

“He’s so loose before games,” Winnipeg center Bryan Little said, according to TSN. “He’s a joker, definitely the prankster on the team. It’s strange for me to see him talking to you guys in front of the camera. It’s like, ‘That’s not who I know.'”

Jets captain Blake Wheeler echoed those sentiments, adding that Byfuglien is a “great equalizer” and unlike anybody else in the NHL.

“Having him on our team gives us an advantage no matter who we play,” Wheeler said. “That’s the type of player he is and from Game 1 of the playoffs, he has just dominated. You can’t stop it.”

Byfuglien was the catalyst for the Jets’ rally in Game 3 in against the Nashville Predators, as Winnipeg stormed back from a 3-0 deficit with started with Byfuglien’s goal which put the Jets on the board, and he later scored to tie the game. Furthermore, Byfuglien would up scoring the game-winning goal during the Jets 6-2 win on Saturday night, which now has the Jets on the verge of clinching.

“What makes him unique is he can, I don’t know if ‘take over’ is right, but he can make an impact in a game in just about every single way possible,” Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said.

“He can defend, he can play real physical, nobody wants to drop the gloves with him, and then there’s an offensive side, it’s a perfectly placed shot, quick hands, all the other things that he can do offensively.”

“There’s only one Dustin Byfuglien, and you want him on your team,” Little said. “You can’t imagine what it would be like playing against him. There’s only one of him. You can’t really compare him to anyone out there.”

“Any time he’s on the ice, it’s dangerous,” Little said.

Arizona Coyotes

Arizona Coyotes Moving to Central Division

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Following the announcement of Seattle as the NHL’s 32nd franchise on Tuesday, there is a shakeup happening in the league’s divisional alignment in the Western Conference to accommodate the addition of the brand new team.

It has been announced that the Arizona Coyotes will officially move from the Pacific Division to the Central Division beginning with the 2021-22 season to accommodate the arrival of Seattle, who will join the Pacific Division, giving the league 16 teams in each conference and eight in each division.

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Seattle Officially Announced as the NHL’s 32nd Team

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It’s official! The NHL’s Board of Governors voted unanimously to accept Seattle’s expansion bid as the 32nd team in the league, according to an official announcement from the league on Tuesday.

The investment group that applied for the expansion included Oak View Group (OVG), which includes Tod Leiweke, former COO of the NFL, Tim Leiweke, former CEO of both Anschutz Entertainment Group (which owns the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings franchise) along with Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment (owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs), and David Bonderman, a Seattle billionaire.

The group also received the benefit of full and public support from Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan throughout the process, and the announcement was considered a foregone conclusion once the group was armed with approval for a new arena.

This could also bode well for the potential return of an NBA franchise in Seattle, as a new arena will certainly re-ignite those efforts.

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Canucks’ Prospect Michael DiPietro Traded In OHL

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After being names to the Team Canada World Junior selection camp on Monday, Vancouver Canucks goaltending prospect has been traded by the Windsor Spitfires to the Ottawa 67’s in exchange that includes forward Egor Afanasyev and seven draft picks, according to the team’s official website.

DiPietro, 19, was selected 64th overall in the 2017 draft and is considered one of the top goaltending prospects in the league, and he owns a .920 save percentage through 21 games.

 

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