Winnipeg Jets, Dustin Byfuglien mutually conform to terminate contract

After months of confusion and hypothesis, the Dustin Byfuglien saga has lastly come to an finish. The veteran blueliner agreed to a deal that terminated his contract with the Winnipeg Jets on Friday, bringing his 10-year stint with the crew to an finish. 

“The Nationwide Hockey League and the Nationwide Hockey League Gamers’ Affiliation introduced at present that the Winnipeg Jets and Participant Dustin Byfuglien have mutually resolved the grievance filed by Mr. Byfuglien following his suspension by the Membership in September 2019,” the NHL and NHLPA mentioned in a press release. “Pursuant to the settlement, Byfuglien’s commonplace participant’s contract with the Membership has been terminated, efficient instantly.”

After reportedly contemplating retirement over the offseason, Byfuglien was suspended by Winnipeg in September for failing to report back to coaching camp. The suspension would have allowed the crew to avoid wasting cap house however it was rapidly challenged by an NHLPA grievance.

He underwent ankle surgical procedure in October and was in harm rehab till January, at which level he advised the crew he would not proceed with the method. He has but to play a single recreation this season. 

“On Sept. 11, the evening earlier than coaching camp, Dustin reached out to me,” Jets normal supervisor Kevin Cheveldayoff mentioned in a convention name with reporters on Friday.  “We met in my workplace that night … and he did not know if he had it in him to proceed enjoying within the NHL. It was one thing that I feel continues to be considerably of a personal matter and that’ll keep considerably non-public, however it was emotional. It was robust on him to even are available and speak to me. At the moment I requested if he needed a commerce and he mentioned it had nothing to do with a commerce.

“After giving him a while, we linked once more collectively on the area,” he continued. “We had one other lengthy dialog about the place issues have been at. Procedurally for us, we have been attending to the purpose the place we needed to begin making some roster choices, cap reductions and the like. At that cut-off date, I requested him if issues had modified or if he nonetheless did not wish to retire, however he nonetheless did not know if he had it in him to proceed to play. … I advised him ‘look, I’ve received to droop you’ and he understood, and we left it at that.” 

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Byfuglien first joined the crew in 2010 — again once they have been nonetheless the Atlanta Thrashers — and went on to play in over 600 video games for the franchise. 

“Clearly, this was by no means our desired end result or ending with Dustin or the Jets,” Cheveldayoff mentioned. “Writing the right script, it might have ended with Dustin holding [a] nice large silver trophy over his head to flash that nice large smile of his, however we’re grateful for the time that we did have Dustin.” 

Initially drafted within the eighth spherical by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2003, he tallied 525 mixed factors (177 objectives, 348 assists) in 869 video games between the Blackhawks and Jets. A member of Chicago’s 2010 Stanley Cup-winning crew, Byfuglien performed ahead for the Blackhawks earlier than switching again to the blue line with the Thrashers. 

Along with his tenure in Winnipeg behind him, it is unclear whether or not the 35-year-old defenseman is trying to be part of one other NHL crew at this level in his profession. 

“He is an incredible participant and particular person and he is a well-liked particular person across the league,” Cheveldayoff mentioned. “There’s just one particular person and one particular person solely that can reply if he’ll ever play once more, and that is Dustin Byfuglien.”

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