The Jets 2019-20 training camp might go down as the oddest of the nine camps they have run since the move to Winnipeg. In addition to the Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor contract situations they had veteran defenceman Dustin Byfuglien decide that he was unsure about his future in the NHL and would require time to ponder his future. He has two years remaining on the five-year deal he signed back in 2016 worth eight million in 2019-20 and six million in 2020-21. To that end the Jets made the procedural move to suspend Byfuglien in order to protect roster/cap flexibility.
Since the start of the season it has been mostly quiet on the Byfuglien front aside from the occasional news blip offering a bit of optimism. Throughout the process Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff refused to say anything about the situation including whether there was a deadline imposed by the team.
About two months ago the news broke that Byfuglien had ankle surgery which was followed by reports that the entire situation was heading towards arbitration and ultimately the NHLPA filed a grievance challenging Dustin Byfuglien’s suspension on November 20th.
Since that time there hasn’t been any news. Until today.
Today Mike McIntyre and Jason Bell, both of the Winnipeg Free Press are reporting the following:
Byfuglien has started a post-surgery rehabilitation program in consultation with the Jets that brings him closer to a potential on-ice return with the team later this season, the Free Press has learned.
Although he’s working with medical staff at an independent clinic, there’s been ongoing communication with the organization including recommendations for his treatment which are being pursued, two sources confirmed Tuesday.
You can read the full story here.
This is an interesting twist as it appeared to be headed for arbitration.
With the Jets sitting at 20-11-2 the potential to get the dynamic big man back on the blueline would certainly have some appeal.