The Dustin Byfuglien situation is getting weirder. The most recent news is out – The 34-year-old recently underwent ankle surgery in Minnesota to repair unresolved issues from his injury last season.
What Does This Mean Going Forward?
The expected recovery time for Byfuglien is not until the New Year at the earliest and that’s probably a stretch for a 250-plus pound man. There are so many questions with this recent news. Why did he wait so long? Why did he not report to camp, go on long-term injured reserve and get paid? Is Byfuglien still open to returning?
Unfortunately only he can answer these questions. The Winnipeg Jets apparently don’t know much more than the local fan as Global TV’s Russ Hobson reported that the organization was aware Byfuglien was contemplating surgery, but they were not directly involved in his decision-making process.
Byfuglien played 42 games for the Jets last season and was on pace for career-high numbers before being injured in December and again in February. He registered 31 points and added eight points in the team’s six-game series against the St. Louis Blues in the 2019 Playoffs – pretty good for a player who was playing with a bum ankle.
Byfuglien’s Cap Hit
Byfuglien has two years remaining on his contract which carries an annual average value (AAV) of $7.6 million. With him currently on the suspended list, his cap hit does not count towards the Jets’ salary cap. However, until he tells the Jets he will not be coming back, there isn’t much they can do with the savings. If they spend the money and he ends up coming back, the Jets are hooped.
The news is a surprise. I suspected his ankle was still bothering him but I did not think surgery was still in play. Most of us had a little hope that he would announce his return any day now, but that dream has just been crushed.
Whether the Jets were holding out for Byfuglien’s return or not, they now have a clear answer. It’s safe to say, #33 will not be at their disposal for the remainder of the 2019-20 season. I do, however, believe there may be a chance for Byfuglien to return next season.
Bad Luck Jets
What a crazy offseason/season for the Jets’ defense. They lose Jacob Trouba, Ben Chiarot, and Tyler Myers to trade and free agency. Nathan Beaulieu was injured before the season even starts.
Sami Niku was in a car accident during training camp and has played just one game in what was supposed to be a year of high expectations for the young Finn.
Josh Morrissey has already missed time due to injury and seems to still have something lingering. Meanwhile, the Jets have been claiming every other defenseman off the waiver wire it seems. When will we all catch a break?
Does Byfuglien Return?
So, what do you think? Will Byfuglien be back in a Jets jersey this season or ever? Will he try to claim his $7.6-million salary now that we all know he has a legitimate injury? Will the Jets make a move for a legitimate top-four defenseman?
I have always supported Byfuglien during his career with the Jets and wish him nothing but the best in whatever he decides to do.
Like a lot of fans, I selfishly want him to come back as soon as possible, but we all want a healthy recovery for the big man and for him to do what’s best for him and his family.
Ryan is very passionate about the game of hockey and loves being at the rink. He is a current regional scout in his home province of Manitoba and a graduate of SMWW. He has played the game since the age of five at many different levels and is always looking to find new ways to stay involved. In his free time when he isn’t busy at the rinks or writing articles/reports, Ryan enjoys spending quality time with his wife and daughter. Follow him on Twitter @Goet91.