Jets ink Dustin Byfuglien to 5 year, $38 million deal

Mack Irwin
February 08 2016 03:51PM

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Photo credit: Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports

After so many months of speculation, the Jets have finally locked up one of their pending UFAs. Dustin Byfuglien, the Jets' all-star defenceman, will remain in Winnipeg for five more seasons according to a team release.

The Winnipeg Jets today announced they have signed defenceman Dustin Byfuglien to a five-year contract extension with an average annual value of $7.6 million.

There is bound to be some sticker shock with this deal: Byfuglien will have the third-highest cap hit of any NHL defencemen next season. But for a 30-year old human wrecking ball, keeping the deal to just five years is key. As a free agent this summer, Byfuglien would almost certainly have been offered seven years; the Jets gave a little on the price tag in exchange for a term they were comfortable with.

Of course, the most important part about this deal is that the Jets have locked up one of the league's very best defencemen. No other NHLer plays quite like Big Buff. His game is haphazard, physical to the point of recklessness, wildly entertaining, skilled, and most of all, effective.

At five on five, Byfuglien scores more goals-per-hour than any other NHL defenceman (last two seasons) and drives possession at a top-pairing level. He's also a weapon on the powerplay and a surprisingly effective penalty killer.

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Byfuglien's occasional propensity for turnovers has made him a surprisingly divisive player among the Jets' fanbase, but he's clearly a top-tier defenceman.

This deal will have ramifications beyond the significant financial commitment; it will impact negotiations with the Jets' captain, Andrew Ladd, and may allow for one of the Jets' other right-hand defenceman to be used as a trade piece. 

In signing Byfuglien, the Jets have made a significant commitment to a long-time franchise star. In return, they have a core piece of their blue line locked up for five seasons. And after all the talk of the tight budget from ownership, the coffers were opened wide to retain a player who couldn't be replaced elsewhere

Only time will tell how Byfuglien's game holds up with age; only time will tell what decisions the Jets make following this one. But if you want to know what his teammates think of Byfuglien's new deal?

They seem to be pretty happy.

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@mackirwin on twitter. don't follow me.
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#1 BarelyComments
February 08 2016, 05:16PM
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Great! Now send Trouba to the Leafs please ;)

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#2 #12MorrisLukowich
February 08 2016, 06:48PM
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Jets are incredibly lucky (and pig headed) that Buff signed for less than $40 mil. An annual aav of $7.6 mil for arguably the 3rd best Dman in the league came dangerously close to dissipating had Buff's camp insisted on 6 years (and rightfully so). Glad that's over. If the rumour is true that Ladd's camp has turned down a similar $36 mil offer, than Goodbye Andrew! have fun in Florida! Thank your agent that you'll get nothing even close to that..

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#3 Garret Hohl
February 08 2016, 07:15PM
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Would have made more on UFA. So good for us.

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#5 VIJETFAN
February 09 2016, 10:35AM
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Great news for Jets and fans, I wonder if Postma, Enstrom, or Trouba should keep a packed just in case bag at the ready...?

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#6 ultrathinzigzags
February 11 2016, 01:48AM
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Nicely done Winnipeg

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#7 Billy
February 11 2016, 09:18AM
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I'm pretty sure max term that can be offered to a UFA by another team is 7 years.

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