One tough blow was handed to the Winnipeg Jets this morning when TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that defenseman Dustin Byfuglien is pondering his NHL future as he takes a leave of absence from the club.
McKenzie noted Byfuglien is said to be weighing his options at the moment and remains without a timetable for a decision. His agent, Ben Hankinson or Byfuglien himself did not respond to a request for comment from McKenzie.
Team insider Rick Ralph of TSN 1290 in Winnipeg has now revealed that Byfuglien is believed to “have lost his love for the game.” Ralph added that the veteran blue liner was on the ice with the rest of the team before the start of training camp, but reportedly did not take part in the skate for Da Beauty League over the course of the summer.
The Jets will be patient with his decision.
On the first day of training camp it was announced that Byfuglien was granted a leave of absence by the team though it was never explained why the blue liner needed time off the ice.
“Let’s just put it this way — there’s nothing sinister to this,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said of Byfuglien’s leave last week.“You start going down the list and then the process of elimination … he has his right to privacy in this. Like I said, there’s nothing sinister to it. He needs some time and he was given that.”
The veteran player has dealt with more injuries in the past few seasons, he who had four goals and 27 assists in just 42 games last season. Byfuglien, who was selected in the eighth round by the Chicago Blackhawks back in 2003, is a veteran of 869 career NHL games and has 177 goals and 525 points in his career.
He is signed through next season at a cap hit of $7.6 million.