Top 5 players in NHL history to switch positions during their career

MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 07: Dustin Byfuglien #33 of the Winnipeg Jets looks on against the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on February 7, 2019 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Winnipeg Jets 5-2. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 07: Dustin Byfuglien #33 of the Winnipeg Jets looks on against the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on February 7, 2019 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Winnipeg Jets 5-2. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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NHL, Dustin Byfuglien
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Dustin Byfuglien made a switch of his position during his NHL career.

Dustin Byfuglien was one of the few cases where he was as successful on defense as he was on offense. Drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 8th round (245th overall) of the 2003 NHL Draft, Byfuglien was a defenseman to start his NHL career and made himself known as a bruiser along the boards who could also produce offensively.

The 6-foot-5 and 260-pound Byfuglien was such a force in the defensive zone yet had enough speed to score a nice goal later in the game. He could not be stopped and, at his size, players simply could not move him in the defensive zone.

Byfuglien switched to forward for the Blackhawks as they needed a big body in front of the net on the power play and to create room for the more skilled players.

It was not until he was with the Atlanta Thrashers that he was moved back to the defensive position and remained there his entire career. He became one of the NHL’s hardest hitters on defense and also brought a laser of a shot with him to the power play.

Byfuglien would compete in three all-star games (2011, 2015, 2016) and also won his only Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010, becoming the first black American-born player to achieve such a feat.

He would last play in the NHL in 2019 and was then released by the Winnipeg Jets in 2020. He made a career out of creating space for his teammates, whether it was on defense or offense. When on defense, he was one of the best around during his time.