The Dustin Byfuglien era with the Winnipeg Jets has ended.
Byfuglien and the team have “mutually resolved” the grievance he filed last year and his contract has been terminated, effective immediately, the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association announced in a tweet from NHL Public Relations on Friday.
Byfuglien had not played for the Jets, or any team, since April 20, 2019. The star defenceman scored a goal and added an assist in a series-ending 3-2 loss to the Blues in St. Louis in the first round of the playoffs.
Byfuglien did not speak to the media following his exit meeting with the coaching staff and management two days later.
Nothing was heard from Byfuglien until Sept. 13, 2019, when the Jets announced he had requested a leave of absence just prior to the start of training camp.
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Nine days later, on Sept. 22, the Jets suspended Byfuglien without pay.
From that point on, it became a guessing game as to when, or if Byfuglien would return to action during the 2019-20 season. And the plot thickened in late October when Byfuglien chose to have ankle surgery — without the Jets’ authorization.
The NHL Players’ Association filed a grievance against the NHL on Byfuglien’s behalf on Nov. 21, and the situation remained in limbo until Friday.
As a result of the termination, Byfuglien will not be paid the US$14 million or so he was owed for this past season and next.
He will be an unrestricted free agent if he chooses to play again in the 2020-21 season.