The Winnipeg Jets are looking into buying out Dustin Byfuglien. The entire concept of a buyout is so a team can get out of the thumb of a bad contract without escaping cap punishment, but still gaining some relief while the player is free to go elsewhere. The type of buyout it is sounding like the Jets are going after is one where both sides agree to it and there is no cap penalty. This is what happened with the Los Angeles Kings and Ilya Kovalchuk who landed with the Montreal Canadiens on a low-risk contract for the remainder of the season.
The Jets are in a no-win situation with Byfigulien. He came to them in the eleventh hour needing some time to think about his future. When he did not show up for training camp the Jets had to suspend him so they were not responsible for paying him to not do his job. He is now taking them to arbitration and this whole situation is weird.
According to Frank Seravalli, Byfuglien has not returned to the ice as part of his rehab from ankle surgery. This is unexpected because it sounded like he was close to returning to the ice. Alas, it is most likely not going to be the Jets problem when all is said and done. There seems to be some serious bad blood with the Jets and Byfuglien. I have no clue how it actually got there and why it developed. It may be tied to Byfuglien feeling like he had an undiagnosed injury that was not addressed by the Jets, but no one knows. This was something that might have been dealt with in arbitration, but it looks like the Jets and Byfuglien are looking to avoid arbitration.
Going forward this will mean the Jets will be in the same position as they were all season: no Byfuglien, but no cap hit with a major difference: no chance he could rejoin the team and therefore the Jets no longer hav to worry about his contract coming back on the books meaning they could spend the money on a player to fill the void that he left. It would leave Byfuglien with the ability to choose a new team instead of the Jets trying to find a trading partner who could take on his salary.
The Jets are looking at buying out Dustin Byfuglien with his full agreement meaning they would not be on the hook for any cap penalty. If this happen, Byfuglien is free to do whatever he wants and the Jets are free to find a replacement without fear of his salary coming back. We don’t know what went on behind the scenes to get us here, but here we are.