Jets reportedly suspend Dustin Byfuglien to protect cap flexibility, roster space

Sporting News

The Winnipeg Jets suspended Dustin Byfuglien on Saturday for failing to report to training camp, according to a report by TSN's Bob McKenzie.

The team granted Byfuglien a personal leave of absence last week, and McKenzie reported that Saturday's move was made to protect Winnipeg's roster and cap flexibility while the 34-year-old defenseman continues to mull his NHL future.

The suspension came a day after Jets coach Paul Maurice said he had a "wonderful" meeting with Byfuglien.

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By suspending Byfuglien now, the Jets ensure that they won't be on the hook for his $7.6 million cap hit if he doesn't report by the opening day of the regular season, McKenzie reported.

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McKenzie noted that the suspension could be reversed at any time and that Byfuglien would have been well aware of the Jets' ability to suspend him for roster and cap purposes.

With Byfuglien's wages off the books, Winnipeg has slightly more than $23 million in available cap space, according to CapFriendly.com.

Byfuglien has been with the Jets since 2011, when the franchise moved from Atlanta, and recorded a career-high 56 points (20 goals, 36 assists) in 2013-14. The 14-year NHL veteran from Roseau, Minn., posted 31 points in 42 regular-season games for Winnipeg last season and added eight more points (two goals, six assists) in six games during the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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