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Season Review: Dustin Jeffrey

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
Despite being shuttled back and forth numerous times between Wilkes-Barre and Pittsburgh this past season, forward Dustin Jeffrey seized every opportunity he was given to show what he could do at the NHL level.


And he certainly made a mark, proving that he was deserving of a full-time spot with the parent club.

“I think it went really well,” Jeffrey said of his season. “Obviously starting the year in Wilkes-Barre wasn’t what I had planned going into training camp, but I think playing the first 40 games there helped the way I was able to handle the call-ups and send-downs and ultimately pretty much earning a spot at the end of the season, I thought it went really well.”

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound forward scored 12 points (7G-5A) in 25 games with Pittsburgh while notching 45 points (17G-28A) in 40 games with WBS.

“Dustin (was) in the unfortunate situation of having a great camp, showing a different level and speed (but) not getting a great opportunity early on in the season,” Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma said during the year.

“When he got that opportunity – sometimes in up-and-down situations and different roles – he played very effectively and did a lot of different things – power play, penalty kill, was good in the faceoff at times. … He has really earned a lot of respect and a lot of time with the way he’s played.”

While he was sidelined with a knee injury in late March, the Penguins are looking forward to seeing more good work from Jeffrey when he’s back to full health – as they re-signed the 23-year-old forward to a two-year contract extension on July 13.

“It’s always tough when something like that happens because there’s really nothing you can do about it,” Jeffrey said of his injury, adding on the Penguins’ locker cleanout day on April 29 that he hoped to be ready for the start of the 2011-12 season.

“We have lots of time. That’s going to be a good thing for me.”

It seemed that Jeffrey provided headline-worthy performances in every game he played last season.  He came up with many big plays when his team needed them most, especially down the stretch – helping the Penguins earn much-needed points as the playoffs approached.

In his first game of the season with Pittsburgh, Jeffrey recorded his first career multiple-point game on Dec. 11 vs. Buffalo – notching a goal and an assist in a 5-2 Penguins victory.

He then scored game-deciding shootout goal in a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers on Feb. 1 (after notching a power-play goal in regulation) and sealed the deal for the Penguins on March 5 with his first career game-winning goal, an overtime marker that propelled Pittsburgh past Boston, 3-2.

But while Jeffrey’s clutch plays certainly stood out, it was his versatility that made him such a valuable asset.

“I think versatility was a big thing I brought that they seemed to like,” Jeffrey said of his discussions with the Penguins staff. “Getting time on the power play, getting time on the PK, playing wing, center – I think that’s what I bring to this team. I could play in any situation up and down the lineup, so I think that will be huge.”

Heading into next season, Jeffrey is looking forward to putting his injury behind him and picking up where he left off.

“I thought I put a good foot forward here,” he said. “Coming into training camp next year, I’ve got to keep moving forward and kind of make that full step to play a full 82 games.”





WATCH: THE BEST OF DUSTIN JEFFREY







2010-11 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS



2011 PLAYOFFS:
Did not play.

2010-11 REGULAR SEASON: Finished his NHL rookie campaign with seven goals and 12 points in 25 games for Pittsburgh ... Scored two goals, including overtime winner, March 5 at Boston ... Season cut short after tearing ACL March 24 at Philadelphia ... Played in 40 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League (AHL) ... Posted 17 goals, 28 assists, 45 points, a plus-13 rating, four power-play goals and six shorthanded goals for WBS.





REGULAR SEASON STAT CHART



GP G A P PIM +/- PP SH Hits
25 7 5 12 4 5 1 0 14



PHOTO GALLERY: DUSTIN JEFFREY










Photos courtesy of Getty Images

  Click here to view the full photo gallery of Dustin Jeffrey during the 2010-11 season!



GET AWAY DAY: DUSTIN JEFFREY



Below is a transcript of Dustin Jeffrey's chat with the media on the Penguins' locker cleanout day on April 29.

On how he thinks his season went getting called up through the injuries and ultimately, his own injury:
I think it went really well. Obviously starting the year in Wilkes-Barre wasn’t what I had planned going into training camp, but I think playing the first 40 games there helped the way I was able to handle the call-ups and send-downs and ultimately pretty much earning a spot at the end of the season, I thought it went really well.

On how tough it was to get a freak injury like his when he had been playing so well:
It’s always tough when something like that happens because there’s really nothing you can do about it. It’s something that happens in hockey, a guy falls on you and there’s really nothing more you could have done to protect yourself. That’s just kind of how it happens.

On if he is on track to be ready for training camp in September:
Yeah, I think so. We have lots of time. I had my surgery 3-4 weeks ago, so I’m already a month in. it’s six months total until the next season, so I’ve got lots of time. That’s going to be a good thing for me.

On if he will be watching free agency closely to see who will be coming and going and how those moves may affect him:
I’m in the same situation too, my contract is up after this year. So I’m also looking to see what happens here in the future. I think it’ll be interesting to see what the team does.

On if he feels that he will fit into the team’s future plans:
I would hope so. I thought I put a good foot forward here. Coming into training camp next year, I’ve got to keep moving forward and kind of make that full step to play a full 82 games.

On if it was frustrating not being able to help the guys down in Wilkes-Barre:
Yeah, it’s tough when you spend half of the season there with those guys and most of them have been around for a year or two. You’ve been around them and around the team and the organization. We have a team where they’re going to compete for a Calder Cup. They’re a team that’s really strong. Any time you wish you could be playing – it’s the same feeling with the end of the season and playoffs here. I would do anything to be able put the skates on, put the jersey on and play. I just wasn’t able to.

On how he thinks his contract situation will go:
I don’t know. It will be interesting to see what happens. The season just ended, so I don’t think there’s anything that has been happening yet.

On how he thinks he will fit in:
I think from talking with people over the past couple days and with the way I was playing and the situations I played in, I think versatility was a big thing I brought that they seemed to like. Getting time on the power play, getting time on the PK, playing wing, center – I think that’s what I kind of bring to this team. I could play in any situation up and down the lineup, so I think that will be huge.

Author: Michelle Crechiolo

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