Jets GM: Byfuglien situation is a 'complicated issue'

Jonathan Kozub / National Hockey League / Getty

Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff discussed Thursday the situation surrounding inactive defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who has been away from the team for the opening stages of the season and recently underwent ankle surgery.

"It's a complicated issue," Cheveldayoff told reporters. "I'm here to speak but there's really not much that I can enlighten beyond what's been talked about as it stands right now."

He added: "Going back to the start of training camp, that's when we met with Dustin and those are all pretty well-documented stuff and obviously over the course of time here, he has had an ankle surgery here now and we're dealing with that. So with respect to really anything else that I can comment on, that's pretty much where it's at, at this point in time. We're in constant conversations with his agents and that's where we're at."

Byfuglien didn't attend training camp and was reportedly contemplating his future in the sport after being granted a personal leave. The team subsequently suspended him, but the ban was strictly for financial reasons, as he was made aware it was done so the Jets could remove his $7.6-million cap hit from their books.

The 34-year-old blue-liner reportedly underwent the ankle procedure last week to repair an unresolved injury he suffered during the 2018-19 season, and his recovery could take more than four months, according to TSN's Darren Dreger.

The NHL Players Association is in discussions with Byfuglien's agent, Ben Hankinson, to review the situation. If it's determined Byfuglien was injured playing hockey, the financial aspect of the issue could become more complicated, Dreger added.

Byfuglien has played 14 NHL seasons and was held back by injuries last year. He managed to produce 31 points in 42 games and led all Jets skaters in ice time at 24:22 per contest.

The Jets have felt the effects of his absence to start the campaign. The club is 6-7-0 and sits three points outside the playoff cutline.

Jets GM: Byfuglien situation is a 'complicated issue'
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