Jets players reflect on Dustin Byfuglien after reports of contract termination
In this file image, Byfuglien celebrates a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during second period NHL action in Winnipeg on Saturday, January 3, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)
WINNIPEG -- A veteran defencemen missing from the Winnipeg Jets lineup this season is working with the team to mutually terminate his contract, according to a report from TSN.
Multiple sources said Dustin Byfuglien and the Jets are hammering out details in the coming days, according to the report Monday from senior hockey reporter Frank Seravalli.
The deal would bring an end to both Byfuglien’s suspension from the team and the subsequent grievance he filed last November.
Jets defenseman, Josh Morrissey recalled one of his first encounters with Byfuglien.
"For me, I remember probably my first five games or so in the league. You're kind of nervous and you're taking shorter shifts than I would now. And I remember skating up the ice one time, and we had been on for only 30 seconds, and I was going to change and we're going into the o-zone offensively, and Buff yelled at me, 'Hey stay out here'," said Morrissey while laughing.
He also remembered the first time he was scored on and he said Byfuglien just told him, "Welcome to the NHL".
Jets forward Patrik Laine said it is tough to see Byfuglien leave, but he understands that it's his life and his career.
Mark Scheifele said he has a lot of great memories with 'Buff' and wishes him nothing but the best moving forward.
Kyle Connor added it's going to be hard not having Byfuglien as part of the team.
"He is such a big part of this organization and team the past couple years and seasons. His play on the ice speaks for itself, he is so dynamic and he can just take a game over with his play and physicality," said Connor.
The NHL trade deadline is three weeks away. The team currently has $7.6 million towards its salary cap earmarked potentially for Byfuglien, which could be freed up if his contract ends.
The defencemen, meantime, would become an unrestricted free agent. He hasn’t skated since ankle surgery in October, and TSN reports questions have lingered throughout the season over whether or not he wanted to return to the game.