NHL News: Winnipeg Jets Dustin Byfuglien Contemplating His Future

Bob McKenzie: The Winnipeg Jets had granted defenseman Dustin Byfuglien a personal leave from the team.

He’s been using this time to think about his playing future – going over his options.

Not saying that he’ll be retiring, or that he’s going to come back. There is no timetable for his decision.

  • Bob McKenzie: The Jets or his agent Ben Hankinson would comment at this time.
  • Bob McKenzie: The 34-year old Byfuglien has two years left on his contract. He carries a $7.6 million salary cap hit. He’s scheduled to make $8 million this year and $6 million next year.

Frank Seravalli: When looking at the salary cap for the Winnipeg Jets, there are three scenarios if it goes into the start of the regular season.

  • Frank Seravalli: “On personal leave, Byfuglien could be listed as ‘active non-roster’ like Nic Petan was last season. He wouldn’t take up a spot on the 23-man active roster, but #nhljets would have to account for his $7.6 million hit on their salary cap.”
  • Frank Seravalli: “#nhljets could suspend Byfuglien and request that his salary cap hit not count against their cap while he’s away. Every day that #nhljets bank his cap savings could help $$$ with Connor and Laine (if they’re not signed).”
  • Frank Seravalli: “Or, of course, if Byfuglien decides to officially retire, his contract would be wiped from books. #nhljets would not have any cap implications and Byfuglien would walk away from the $14 million owed to him over the next 2 season. Also: no signing bonus to claw back.”

Ken Wiebe: Just a theory and not proof but … In the week leading up to the start of training camp Dustin Byfuglien didn’t look like the happy-go-lucky seft at their informal skates.

  • Ken Wiebe: “There was no friendly banter or chirping going on. And during the scrimmage those Byfuglien roaming charges were low and he wasn’t as involved offensive as we are used to seeing. But it was one skate and you can’t make sweeping judgements from that alone…”
  • Ken Wiebe: “It was also a bit strange that he didn’t take part in da beauty league in the summer like he had in previous years, but coming off the two ankle injuries and the concussion from last year, that alone wasn’t a red flag in itself either”
  • Ken Wiebe: “My belief is that coming back from those three injuries last year took a mental toll, in addition to the physical toll on Byfuglien, who plays with a lot of passion. Right now that passion level for the sport he loves isn’t at the level required to play a full season in the NHL”
  • Ken Wiebe: “So contemplating his future – as  @TSNBobMcKenzie put it – makes a lot of sense for Byfuglien. This is a big decision for him and it makes sense that he would be sure about it before he decides that either he wants to retire or if he wants to play”
  • Ken Wiebe: “Obviously that leaves the #NHLJets in a very difficult spot, both in the short term and potentially the long term, given the turnover on the back end already. Byfuglien has been an integral piece and isn’t the type of guy who is easy to replace. He’s in the 4th yr of a 5-yr deal”

At 34 y.o. and after a season plagued by injury, it’s easy to understand Dustin Byfuglien’s desire to reevaluate playing.
He remains a key component of WPG’s DEF group, facilitating shots at an excellent rate, denying entries, creating exits, and did well by xG, relatively. pic.twitter.com/XrD43gsJZ4

— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) September 18, 2019