The Winnipeg Jets‘ blue line has been the story of their season thus far, with the impact of the significant turnover on the team’s back end remaining the biggest question mark on the club’s 2019-20 effort.
Key among those blue-line concerns is the fate of star defender Dustin Byfuglien, who is said to be mulling retirement after 14 years in the big leagues.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, a decision on the big-bodied defender’s future shouldn’t be expected any time soon.
“I spoke today to [Byfuglien’s] agent Ben Hankinson and he said, ‘Look, don’t jump to any conclusions,’” Friedman said Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada’s ‘Headlines’ segment. “He says that this is not something that’s going to end quickly, it’s going to play out over a little bit of time.”
The 34-year-old defenceman has been on a personal leave of absence since the start of the Jets’ training camp. He was suspended by the Jets in late September for failing to report to camp, a procedural move while he mulls his future.
Winnipeg’s brass are hoping that decision eventually falls on the side of an NHL return.
“I believe the Jets are really hoping that Byfuglien, the urge comes back to him once he sees the team playing,” Friedman added. “But I’ve been told don’t jump to any conclusions, and don’t expect necessarily any kind of quick announcement.”
Byfuglien has spent eight years with the Jets organization, posting 363 points in that span, following a five year-stint in Chicago that included a Stanley Cup win in 2010, and one year in Atlanta before the franchise relocated north.