Dustin Byfuglien Signs 5-Year Deal With Winnipeg Jets

Dustin Byfuglien inks 5-Year Contract with Winnipeg Jets

It seems the latest Dustin Byfuglien rumors were true.  The last we heard, Winnipeg was focusing their efforts on signing defenseman Dustin Byfuglien to a long-term deal.

It was announced Monday (Feb.8) that Winnipeg has come to terms with their stud blueliner on a five-year deal with an average salary cap hit of $7.6 million dollars.  It’ll keep him in Winnipeg until 2021.

via NHL.com,

Byfuglien, 30, is tied for second among NHL defensemen with 15 goals, and has 32 points in 52 games this season.

At 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, Byfuglien is among the most unique players in the League, having experience at forward and defense. He’s scored at least 15 goals in three straight seasons, and played in his third NHL All-Star Game this season.

In 11 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Thrashers and Jets, he has 148 goals and 376 points in 649 games. He helped the Blackhawks win the 2010 Stanley Cup.

This most recent piece of news adds more speculation to Winnipeg’s captain Andrew Ladd, and his future.  Notoriously known as a budget team that spends closer to the cap floor, and with more bodies to sign, Dustin Byfuglien’s new contract almost guarantees that Ladd’s days in Winnipeg are becoming numbered.

From a Jets point of view, locking down Dustin Byfuglien opposed to Ladd makes a lot of sense.  There’s only two quality dwingers (d-men with offensive versatility) in the NHL (Dustin Byfuglien and Brent Burns), and few players that can straddle that line of edge without crossing it for physicality.  The only knock on his style of play is that it can be deemed undisciplined.  He’s certainly a heavy contributor to Winnipeg’s reputation as being such.

Andrew Ladd’s Future

There’s typically a sense of security when you’re a captain of an NHL franchise.  It’s a rarity for a NHL club to sacrifice that type of leadership.  The intangibles a player like Ladd offers both on-and-off the ice are reasons alone to draw interest from other NHL clubs.  When you consider he produced 62 points in 2014-15, and 30 already this season, along with his gritty style of play – teams should be lining up for his services.

We’re talking about a two-time Stanley Cup winner, with Carolina and Chicago.  He was a 4th overall pick of the Carolina Hurricanes back in 2004, and has quietly put together a very productive career.  He has 450 points in 743 regular season career games.

While there’s a possibility of a Stanley Cup contender interested in adding Ladd as a rental, it makes more sense that whoever attempts to acquire him, is also interested in retaining him long-term.

3 Best Fits to Trade for, and Re-Sign Ladd:

Anaheim Ducks, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins