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Byfuglien Must be Dealt With Now, Not Later

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Dustin Byfuglien has been one of the most polarizing figures since the Jets returned to Winnipeg. Whether it be because of his "weight problems", overall playing style, or how he interacts with the media, people always seem to enjoy talking about big number thirty three. This off-season people are talking about him for a whole different reason, and it's the most important one of them all.

Byfuglien's contract expires at the end of the season, and if he hits the market he will be the biggest name to become available in years. I can see him asking for seven million over seven years and getting it. He is that good. Andrew Ladd said at the NHL Awards that both him and the team want to see an extension done this summer. The Jets need to have the same mind set when dealing with Byfuglien.

We're all still reeling from Frolik (well, I am) and Cheveldayoff seems to have blown it by not giving him the contract that Frolik wanted last summer. It came to light that they did not trade Frolik because they were in a playoff spot. Byfuglien is head and shoulders more valuable to this team than Frolik was so there is no chance they trade him if they are in a playoff spot too.

There's a human factor regarding this too and why you can't drag this out into the season. Byfuglien is a veteran in the locker room and is well respected by his teammates. Trading him while they are fighting for or trying to keep a playoff spot could cause a rift within the team. Say it's January and the Jets are sitting tenth in the conference and are only three games back and that's when they trade Byfuglien. The rest of the players could take that as a sign that the organization has given up on them for the season, and why wouldn't they? You just traded one of your best players in the middle of the playoff race. If you can't get him to sign an extension and then trade him during the summer it's not hard to sell it as a move that helps the team now and later.

I know some people may think a training camp deadline might be a harsh line to draw in the sand for when this needs to get settled but I just don't think it's worth the risk after losing Frolik for nothing. Asset management is key and Byfuglien is the biggest asset on the team. It's better to do something with him than nothing and for both the short and long term health of the team you need to make your decision now. Chevy built up a lot of good faith with his moves at the trade deadline, but he could lose it all and then some if he fumbles the handling of Byfuglein. I know I'm simplifying it with what I'm about to say, but with Byfuglien being one of your best players you can't get away with low balling him. Chevy needs to give him his best offer and see if he says yes. If not, he needs to pick up the phone and start dealing again before it's too late to do anything