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'I wanted to give something back'

Exposed in expansion draft, Enstrom decided to help Jets

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Toby Enstrom</p>

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Toby Enstrom

Toby Enstrom always felt like he had unfinished business in Winnipeg.

It’s one of the reasons he decided to help the Jets out this summer, honouring GM Kevin Cheveldayoff’s request to waive the no-movement clause in his contract in advance of the NHL Expansion Draft. The move allowed the Jets to protect an allotment of seven forwards, three defencemen and one goalie, which was preferred by management.

In return, Cheveldayoff promised Enstrom he would do his best to keep the 32-year-old Swede in Winnipeg. But there could be no guarantees.

“Actually, for me it wasn’t hard at all,” Enstrom said, following Tuesday’s informal workout prior to Friday’s opening of training camp at the Iceplex. “I’ve been with this franchise for 10 years. And of course, I wanted to stay here and I want to play here. In the end it wasn’t hard at all.”

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Toby Enstrom always felt like he had unfinished business in Winnipeg.

It’s one of the reasons he decided to help the Jets out this summer, honouring GM Kevin Cheveldayoff’s request to waive the no-movement clause in his contract in advance of the NHL Expansion Draft. The move allowed the Jets to protect an allotment of seven forwards, three defencemen and one goalie, which was preferred by management.

In return, Cheveldayoff promised Enstrom he would do his best to keep the 32-year-old Swede in Winnipeg. But there could be no guarantees.

"Actually, for me it wasn’t hard at all," Enstrom said, following Tuesday’s informal workout prior to Friday’s opening of training camp at the Iceplex. "I’ve been with this franchise for 10 years. And of course, I wanted to stay here and I want to play here. In the end it wasn’t hard at all."

The possibility of being chosen by the expansion Vegas Golden Knights was very real, but a pre-draft deal was struck to secure Enstrom’s place with the Jets. He had taken a few days to consider Cheveldayoff’s request, but didn’t hedge.

"There’s always a chance (I would be chosen)," said the veteran defenceman, who is entering the final season of a five-year deal that will pay him US$5.75 million in 2017-18. "The things this organization has given me and my family, you can’t put words on that. And I felt like they asked me to do it and I wanted to give something back to keep this team moving forward.

"I took a few days. But this is home for me. I’ve been here for forever... I love it here. I love the people in Winnipeg. I came back Sunday night here and when I landed, it was like it feels like coming home. It feels good and the thing is, I’ve been with this team for so long and I want to win. That’s the biggest thing for me now."

The off-season was a time to rest, recuperate and recharge for Enstrom.

A concussion, suffered on an illegal hit from behind by Tom Sestito of the Pittsburgh Penguins, ended his season on March 8. His recovery took time. He went home to Ornskoldsvik, a six-hour drive north of Stockholm and a place where he can live the quiet life he prefers.

"You know what, the city I live in they raise so many good players — (Peter) Forsberg, (Markus) Naslund, the Sedins (Daniel and Henrik), (Victor) Hedman," said Enstrom.

"They’re used to hockey, so in that city, it’s pretty easy to move around, get around. Like I said, they’re so used to big names in hockey. I like it up there, it’s nice and quiet. I fish a lot."

Enstrom found even more contentment in his personal life when he married his fiancée, Swedish television reporter Camilla Nordlund, in a mid-summer ceremony.

"She’s great for me," said Enstrom. "We have fun together. She stayed here last year with me. We made it work last year and she’ll be here this year, too."

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Enstrom was asked to project what he thought teammate and scoring sensation Patrik Laine would be capable of in 2017-18, his sophomore season.

"It’s written in the stars. Great kid. I mean, we’ve all seen him play. He can do magical things so... I guess we’ll see this year," said Enstrom.

mike.sawatzky@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @sawa14

Read more by Mike Sawatzky.

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History

Updated on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at 7:19 AM CDT: Edited

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