It’s hard to miss Dustin Byfuglien when you tune in to a Winnipeg Jets game because of his big body and the speed at which he aggressively flies up ice on the rush.
But when he’s not the most noticeable player on the ice, Zach Bogosian is. Boy oh boy does this guy have presence.
When you look at his stats, Bogosian isn’t exactly shooting out the lights. Offence hasn’t come easy for the No. 3 overall pick in 2008, but he’s still lauded as an all-around defender with potential to be a real force in the NHL. But even though the early returns on his production have been lukewarm, Bogosian still appears to be on his way to becoming the dominant performer the Atlanta Thrashers expected him to be.
First off, he moves at an incredible speed for a big man. Usually players his size either bring the big shot or their positioning and body work is down to a tee, pigeonholing them as either an offensive or defensive player. But because Bogosian has the shot and is showing improvement in his positioning, his speed makes him stand out from other monster-sized blue-liners.
And how many times has this guy pulled off an end-to-end rush this season only to see his shot hit the post or a nice pass to an open forward hop off the stick or get shot wide? At some point the law of averages will kick in and these opportunities will start going in. And once they do, Bogosian’s numbers will all of a sudden hit an uptick. Sure, he hasn’t scored yet this season, but he’s logged four points in his past four games so perhaps the averages are already starting to turn in his favour.
There are still times where he bobbles the puck in the defensive zone or waits a little too long to move it, but that comes with the territory of being a 21-year-old defenceman in the NHL. You can’t say it’s a problem though, and with Tobias Enstrom out with an injury, coach Claude Noel has been leaning on Bogosian more and more. In seven of the team’s past 10 games, Bogosian has logged 25 minutes or more.
Last season there were trade rumours around Bogosian – if anyone suggests that again this season, please inform the Jets that they don’t realize what they have in the Massena, N.Y. native.