The Winnipeg Jets and their fans are still holding out hope that they will see star defenseman Dustin Byfuglien back on their roster at some point during the 2019 - 2020 National Hockey League regular season. That being said though if you happen to be one of those many fans it may be well past time to start tempering your expectations and it is starting to sound more and more like the likelihood of a return from Byfuglien is very low.
Earlier this week we covered comments made by Sportsnet's NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, Friedman that painted the Byfuglien situation in a rather negative light. Although Friedman stopped short of saying that Byfuglien would retire rather than return to the Jets, he did strongly hint at the fact that it would take something on the part of the Jets to entice Byfuglien back to the organization for another season.
"I think they are still gonna wait for him to make his decision," said Friedman before adding, "you know I hate to be negative the word is that they have to talk him out of retiring.
On Saturday night Friedman was joined by fellow Sportsnet insider Chris Johnston for their weekly "Headlines" segment during the NHL broadcast and once again things did not sound promising for the Jets. This time it was Johnson who brought the negativity to the table and his comments were far more definitive than the ones made by his colleague earlier in the week.
"It is the modern word Elliotte but there are some teams out there jumping to conclusions, cause making my way around the league around the last couple of weeks a lot of people seem to be gossiping that this guy is done," said Johnston.
That is of course terrible news for the Jets but there is a silver lining I suppose if you happen to be looking for one. In the very same segment Friedman acknowledge that he had spoken to Byfuglien's agent following his comments earlier in the week and he had received a little pushback.
"I spoke today to his agent and he said 'Look, don't jump to any conclusions' he says that this is not something that is gonna end quickly and that it is going to play out over a little bit of time.," said Friedman.
It sounds like there won't be any kind of immediate announcement, but it certainly sounds like things are heavily leaning towards a Byfuglien retirement.