TSN: Dustin Byfuglien had ankle surgery about seven weeks ago. Darren Dreger said they don’t know if he’s any closer to rejoining the Winnipeg Jets/playing in the NHL. It’s not known when he’ll be able to start skating.
“But, because of the pending arb case, the Winnipeg Jets are also kept in form. But he’s still dealing with the rehabilitation clinic outside of the Jets organization. His status with the NHL club remains unchanged and that grievance hearing has yet to be scheduled.”
Scott Billeck of the Winnipeg Sun: Byfuglien’s rehab is being lead by an independent medical staff but there has been ongoing communication about his overall treatment.
Byfuglien is still suspended and he’s filed a grievance to get some of the $8 million salary he had been set to earn this season. The hearing hasn’t happened yet as far as we know. It may never happen.
Byfuglien’s camp and the Jets are talking. Reasons why there may be communication:
1. Byfuglien wants to play hockey again, as early as this season — the end of February or early March based on the timeline to recover fully from his surgery.
2. He wants to get paid. This is the penultimate year of his five-year, $38-million deal. He’s owed $6 million next year and could still cash in on that, in Winnipeg, or elsewhere. And perhaps showing interest in rehabbing helps his arbitration case.
3. He is increasingly less confident that he has a foot to stand on (no pun intended) in front of an arbitrator because, at the end of the day, he had previously declared himself to be healthy on his season-ending medical report. With that finally sinking in, Byfuglien is ready to cut his losses and salvage what he can.
Would think that No. 3 could be the main reason, but all three are possible. If Byfuglien and the Jets could mend their relationship, he’d be a huge ‘trade deadline acquisition.’