It's no secret that I think Dustin Byfuglien is very overrated. And a $5.2M annual contract - which is more like $5.4M given that Atlanta bought out one of Buf's RFA years - would suggest that he's one of the 20-25 best defensemen in the league. Sadly, no. Byfuglien is probably overpaid by $1M per season, and Atlanta takes a big risk with a long contract to a guy who isn't even the best defenseman on his own team!
The bigger issue is that the Thrashers are on the block and before yesterday had no liabilities beyond 2012-13. Now they do, and there's pressure to lock up other players. Trying to sell a hockey team where you've nuked its financial flexibility is like trying to sell your house and tenants as a package deal - the value goes way down. So Winnipeg ownership will have to figure out what to do with his contract.