There have been mixed reports on defenseman Dustin Byfuglien and his desire to renew with hockey for the 2020-21 season and consider signing a shorter term contract with a team in the National Hockey League.
In his latest 31 Thoughts column on Sportsnet, Ellliotte Friedman has added some confusion to the mix, stating that an offer might have been presented to the veteran blue liner.
“Minnesota asked Dustin Byfuglien if he wanted to play for them. If there was one team he’d consider, it was probably the Wild. But agent Ben Hankinson doubts the big defender ever plays in the NHL again. Too bad.”
Wild insider Michael Russo of The Athletic also claims the team gauge the interest of Buff to come to Minnesota. Russo reports that general manager Bill Guerin would have interest in Byfuglien if he chooses to resume his playing career, but feels that is a long shot at this point.
An offer is in the place, but it sure sounds like Big Buff has no interest in returning to the game in the NHL. He hasn’t played since the end of the 2018-19 season and talks that he was not interested in coming back to the game keep growing.
We all remember how this all started when Byfuglien refused to show up at the Jets training camp at the start of the season. On September 13, 2019, the blue liner was granted an indefinite personal leave of absence by the team. However, he was later suspended by the Jets for not returning to training camp, though later reports indicated this was for salary cap relief. He underwent surgery for a high ankle sprain in late October, 2019, without direct involvement of the team. Byfuglien’s camp claimed that surgery was a result of injuries suffered during the previous regular season and playoffs and the Jets should have paid for it. Winnipeg claimed Byfuglien had been given a clean bill of health at the end of the 2018-19 season. This is what led to the grievance being filed. On February 24, 2020, the Jets announced that Byfuglien would not return for the remainder of the season.
When his contract was terminated, many assumed that Buff could settle for a smaller deal with another team, however, COVID-19 happened, the NHL’ Return to Play plan and now the offseason is at our doors. And now it sounds like he doesn’t have any interest for that…
The 35-year-old defenseman tallied four goals and 27 assists for a total of 31 points in 42 games in 2018-19.
And that might be it.