The Winnipeg Jets have suspended Dustin Byfuglien for failing to report to training camp, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Byfuglien, who has been on a personal leave of absence since the beginning of training camp with no official reason given nor timeline in place for his return, has not been with the team yet and has reportedly been considering retirement.
If the 34-year-old’s leave of absence continued into the start of the season, Winnipeg would lose Byfuglien’s cap hit until he reported to the team.
Jets coach Paul Maurice said Sunday that Byfuglien was suspended for not reporting to training camp.
"It is absolutely procedural and Dustin was aware of it," he said.
Suspending Byfuglien appears to offer a workaround to this salary cap stipulation, allowing the Jets to maintain their cap flexibility while he reaches a decision on his future.
Byfuglien has two years remaining on his contract with the Jets, with an average annual value of $7.6 million.
Reports surfaced last week that Byfuglien was contemplating retirement.
When asked about them, Maurice told reporters that "privacy was paramount." He added he’d met with Byfuglien on Thursday and had a "wonderful" conversation.
A veteran of 14 NHL seasons, Byfuglien has been with the Jets franchise since 2010-11 after being acquired by the then-Atlanta Thrashers from the Chicago Blackhawks, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2009-10.
The Roseau, Minn., native has played in 869 regular-season games, racking up 177 goals, 525 points and 1,094 penalty minutes.
With files from The Canadian Press