The big man in Winnipeg, Dustin Byfuglien will become an unrestricted free-agent next season. Will the Jets trade him or resign him this season? There is a tremendous amount of speculation surrounding the fact that Winnipeg just might trade him.
It looks as though the asking price for Byfuglien may be too high for the Jets. The Winnipeg Jets have a master plan, and at the head of it will be signing center Mark Scheifele and defenseman Jacob Trouba at the end of the season. These two critical players will also become restricted free-agents at the end of the season, and the truth is they are more important cogs in the wheel of success than Byfuglien.
Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff knows that if he gives Dustin Byfuglien what he is likely to be asking this will limit what he can spend on Scheifele and Trouba. To compound the problem team captain Andrew Ladd will also become a unrestricted free-agent at the end of the season. The Jets are a budget team, and do not usually spend to the cap, but if they resign all these stars they will likely be pushing the cap ceiling very hard.
There have been recent rumors that Dustin Byfuglien was on the way to the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings or even the Anaheim Ducks. Boston and Detroit are in need of a solid defenseman, but Byfuglien is far from a reliable defenseman. He has had his defensive struggles. They were evident in the first round series loss to Anaheim in last season playoffs. Anaheim on the other hand would be looking to add him based on his size, grit and versatility. This seems like the most plausible fit for a trade.
Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun released some very interesting facts this week that show the success of the Jets based on what position Byfuglien was playing last season. The Jets had a 16-9-7 record when he played forward last year, 9-3-1 when he was not in the lineup, and a 18-14-5 record with him on defense. Wyman stated, “the Jets could be better off without Byfuglien, especially if they get a good return for him.” His impact on the teams record was far from impressive.
I predict that Byfuglien will be in search of a huge contract. I also feel that the Jets will be very hesitant in giving this to him. The Jets have showed great patience, and have had a history of really sticking to there beliefs. Depending on the Winnipeg Jets success this season, it looks as if Dustin Byfuglien may be the most valuable rental player on the market come the 2016 trade deadline.
* Photo by Getty Images
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