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Jets' Byfuglien on switch to forward: 'Defense was so much fun though'

Chris Humphreys / USA TODAY

Five months ago, defenseman Dustin Byfuglien told media he would rather play the next season as a defenseman than as a forward. The Winnipeg Jets are moving him to forward anyway, and he seemed less than enthusiastic about it on Saturday.

When asked about changing positions this season, he said, "God, defense was so much fun though. It's tough. I got a job to do and, you know, I'm just here to go work."

Byfuglien experienced success as a forward with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, standing in front of the opponent's net and tallying 16 points in 22 playoff games en route to the Stanley Cup.

When he was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers (now the Jets), he moved back to defense and scored 53 points.

The Jets want to utilize his 6-foot-5, 265-pound body up front, playing him on a line with Bryan Little and Andrew Ladd at training camp. He wasn't afraid to let the media know he was dissatisfied.

"I don't know if it really gets the mojo going but, yeah, it's the start of a new season," he said of playing with Little and Ladd, sighing.

"The lines are what they are right now, it doesn't mean anything," he continued.

Byfuglien said he had been in contact with the coaches all summer, but when he showed up to camp, "Everything was new for me."

When asked about his expectations for himself this season, Byfuglien's message was clear: he wants to be back on the blue line. "(To) be back on defense any time, right away. Focus on defense first and the offense will come."

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