Report: Jets, Byfuglien working to terminate contract

Darcy Finley / National Hockey League / Getty

The Winnipeg Jets and Dustin Byfuglien are working toward a mutual contract termination within the next several days, sources told TSN's Frank Seravalli.

A termination would end the defenseman's suspension and nullify his grievance against the team. It would also serve as a significant step on Byfuglien's path to unrestricted free agency.

Neither side can independently terminate the final two years of the deal - both sides need to sign off on it - and Byfuglien would then have to clear waivers before becoming a UFA, according to The Athletic's Ken Wiebe.

The gargantuan blue-liner has missed the entire 2019-20 season after undergoing ankle surgery in October. The Jets suspended him in September after he didn't report to training camp, and the NHLPA filed a grievance on his behalf in November.

Byfuglien hasn't resumed skating since the ankle procedure. The 34-year-old's camp has argued the injury was a hockey-related ailment sustained during the 2018-19 season and that it never fully healed, but the team deemed him healthy after he passed his end-of-season physical in April.

The veteran rearguard's ban was procedural in nature and he hasn't been paid since being suspended. Byfuglien's contract originally carried a $7.6-million cap hit for both this season and the next campaign, along with salaries of $8 million in 2019-20 and $6 million in 2020-21.

Terminating the deal would bring closure to the dispute while providing the Jets with cap flexibility ahead of the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

Report: Jets, Byfuglien working to terminate contract
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