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A few days after the Winnipeg Jets granted defenseman Dustin Byfuglien a leave of absence for personal reason, we’re learning that the 34-year-old is taking the time to ponder his NHL future.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie added that neither the Jets nor Buff’s agent, Ben Hankinson, responded to comment requests.
Byfuglien asked for a leave of absence late last week, which Jets head coach Paul Maurice said wasn’t related to anything “sinister” and that the health of Byfuglien and his family was good. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff later echoed that sentiment.
The bruising blueliner is on the fourth year of a five-year contract with an AAV of $7.6 million, and is scheduled to earn $8 million and $6 million in each of the next two seasons, respectively.
Byfuglien is coming off an injury-riddled campaign which saw him dress for only 42 regular-season games and put up just four goals — the lowest total of his career.
Losing a top-four D-man of Byfuglien’s stature would be another dagger to Winnipeg’s chances this season. A tumultuous summer saw the departure of big-minutes blueliners Jacob Trouba and Tyler Myers, while star restricted free agents Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine remain unsigned well over a week into training camp.
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