Report: Enstrom upset with Game 5 scratch, left Jets before locker clean-outs
Enstrom was a healthy scratch in Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights, which turned out to be the team's final game of its season. He was reportedly unhappy with head coach Paul Maurice's decision to leave him out of the lineup because he'd been playing through the series with a rib injury, according to Jeff Hamilton and Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press.
One anonymous source told Hamilton and McIntyre that Enstrom suffered broken ribs, but didn't say when the ailment occurred.
Maurice refuted this notion, however, when asked whether Enstrom played through broken ribs.
"No, he had dealt with broken bones in his feet during the year. But nothing broken," Maurice said, per Hamilton and McIntyre.
Jets players had their final exit meetings with coaches and management and met with the media during locker clean-out Tuesday, but Enstrom was nowhere to be found. Reporters who requested to speak with him were told he was "long gone."
Enstrom was one of three regulars to be scratched from the lineup for Game 5, along with fellow defenseman Ben Chiarot and forward Andrew Copp. Dmitry Kulikov, Joe Morrow, and Joel Armia stepped in instead. Maurice said he was "looking for some legs and for some jump" after his team had lost three straight.
The 2017-18 campaign was the last of a five-year contract carrying a $5.75-million average annual value for Enstrom. A two-time 50-point defenseman, he was a shell of his former self over the last four seasons, suffering numerous injuries and never regaining his offensive form. He had just six points in 43 games this year.
Given the Jets' depth on the blue line - including 21-year-old Sami Niku, who was named the AHL's top defenseman in 2017-18 - a return to Winnipeg seems highly unlikely for Enstrom, and if so, it certainly didn't end the way he had hoped.
Enstrom, alongside Bryan Little, is the longest-serving player on the Jets/Atlanta Thrashers - dating all the way back to 2007-08.