The NHL players’ union has officially waded into Dustin Byfuglien’s off-ice matters, challenging the Winnipeg Jets’ decision to suspend the hulking defenceman.
The 14-year NHL veteran isn’t being paid, a move made by the club after he failed to report to training camp after meeting with general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff. The situation will likely end up in arbitration, though no date has been set.
"It is too early to say when the matter will go before the impartial arbitrator," a source said late Wednesday.
It’s believed Byfuglien, 34, was declared healthy by team doctors at the end of the 2018-19 season, and that he signed off on the physical.
Byfuglien asked for a leave of absence at the start of training camp as he contemplated retirement. He then underwent surgery for a high-ankle sprain the last week of October, without the Jets’ consent.
His five-year contract runs through next season. He was slated to earn US$8 million this year and US$6 million in 2020-21.
— Jason Bell