Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/2/2016 (1382 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
ST. LOUIS – The Winnipeg Jets have locked up one of their big pieces, inking defenceman Dustin Byfuglien to a five-year contract extension with an average annual value of $7.6 million.
The move is mammoth for the 30-year-old Byfuglien, who has 15 goals and 17 assists this season – his 15 goals ranking him second among all NHL defencemen. It also leaves captain Andrew Ladd as the only remaining unrestricted free agent unsigned.
“It’s exciting. I’m excited to be a Jet."-Dustin Byfuglien
"I’ve been here five years now and where we started and where we are now, I don’t think as an organization we’re very far off," said Byfuglien after Monday’s practice at the Scottrade Center. "My family and I have found Winnipeg nice and are very happy to stay here and sign this. Thanks to Chipper (Mark Chipman) and Chevy (Kevin Cheveldayoff). They’ve been good with me the whole time and it never really crossed my mind going anywhere (else).
"It’s exciting. I’m excited to be a Jet."
Just last week Byfuglien made no secret of his desire to remain in Winnipeg with the Jets, only a few days after some of his comments at the NHL All-Star Game in Nashville about a possible return were painted as ‘lukewarm.’ Asked Monday if the announcement is a relief, Byfuglien grinned then said:
"It is. It really is. The family part... everything. We can finally settle down and know we’ve got a gameplan for the next five."
Jets coach Paul Maurice made the Byfuglien announcement to the team on the ice at the end of practice, bringing an instant cheer from teammates, who then mobbed the popular veteran.
"That was exciting," said Byfuglien. "I guess it could have been worse. They could have skated away from me and left me by myself. They’re excited. I’m excited."
Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said contract talks have been percolating for a while now, but heated up recently. The term, a five-year deal, is also important to the Jets who hope to get some of Byfuglien’s best years.
"This was something that between ourselves and Dustin’s representative that we could feel comfortable with," said Cheveldayoff. "You never know what’s out there in free agency so, certainly, we’re very excited that Dustin and us were able to come to the agreement that we were with respect to the term and the money."
Cheveldayoff, not surprisingly, wouldn’t tip his hand as to how this might affect negotiations with Ladd.
"We’ll sit back and look at the situation from an organization standpoint," said Cheveldayoff. "Again, we really haven’t commented on any contract negotiations for a long period of time and that’s where we’ll stay."
NHL.com: Dustin Byfuglien
Updated on Monday, February 8, 2016 at 3:38 PM CST: Video added.
3:48 PM: Sound clip added.
4:10 PM: Adds quotes