ROCKFORD, Ill. – The Rockford IceHogs, proud American Hockey League affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League, announced today that forward D.J. Busdeker signed a two-year AHL contract starting with the 2020-21 season.
Busdeker, 20, wrapped up a four-year junior career in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Saginaw Spirit, totaling 146 points (54 goals, 92 assists) in 235 games and served as an alternate captain the last two seasons. Last season, the Dexter, Michigan, native recorded a career-high 57 points (22 goals, 35 assists) in 62 games and finished fourth in team points and goals and third in assists.
In his time with Saginaw, Busdeker skated as both a forward and defenseman, providing a unique opportunity for the organization. “For us, it’s a luxury to have a swing guy like that,” Spirit Head Coach Chris Lazary told M Live last February. “He’s a guy that is arguably probably one of the best players in the league. The plays that he makes, the offense he creates, how he tracks and gets into bodies … he’s phenomenal. He skates so well, he’s highly competitive, he’s unbelievably smart and he can play both positions.”
The 5-foot-10, 176-pound dual threat had not played defense until the 2018-19 when the Spirit became shorthanded in personnel. “When we’re out there, we’re a five-man unit, so you’re always moving between offense and defense anyway. I like playing defense. It all depends where they need me. I just want to win,” added Busdeker.