NHLPA Files Grievance on Behalf of Winnipeg Jets Dustin Byfuglien

NHL Rumours; Dustin Byfuglien
OTTAWA, ON - FEBRUARY 09: Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (33) during warm-up before National Hockey League action between the Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators on February 9, 2019, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The NHL Players Association has filed a grievance on behalf on Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien. This news announced Wednesday night and NHLPA is challenging the team’s suspension of the veteran blueliner.

NHLPA to Challenge Dustin Byfuglien Suspension

The 34-year-old was suspended at the beginning of the season for failing to report. Winnipeg said he was granted personal leave at the start of training camp, but was later suspended.

Byfuglien then had ankle surgery at the end of October for a high-ankle sprain. The surgery will have the defenceman out until the start of the New Year. However, the Jets said that the Minneapolis, Minn. native was deemed fit after season-ending physicals. Winnipeg also made it clear that Byfuglien was ready to retire. There is no timetable on when a hearing would happen.

In 869 games, Byfuglien has racked up 525 points (177 goals and 348 assists) along with 1,094 penalty minutes. Last season, he totaled four goals and 27 assists for 31 points in 42 games. The Chicago Blackhawks drafted him in the eighth round, 245th overall of the 2003 NHL Draft.

The 6-foot, 5-inch defenceman has missed a combined 53 games over the last two seasons. Injuries have taken their toll on the physical defender.

What it Means

The Jets were able to take his $7.6 million salary cap hit off the books and get out of cap trouble. Winnipeg was up against the cap, but were able to take the pressure off when they suspended Byfuglien. He has one year left on his contract after this season.

There’s no word on if Byfuglien would want to come back to the team after he’s ready to play. There’s a lot of bad blood between the two parties and it could be a messy divorce. The question is who would take a chance on aging defender with a hefty cap number.

OTTAWA, ON – FEBRUARY 09: Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (33) during warm-up before National Hockey League action between the Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators on February 9, 2019, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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