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SEVERAL TEAMS INQUIRING, BUT IT LOOKS LIKE DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN'S MIND IS MADE UP

If Dustin Byfuglien were ready to come back to the NHL in the 2020-21 season, it's likely he would have several offers. The six-foot-five, 250 pound defenceman can deliver punishing hits while also helping out on the scoresheet with goals and assists. However, it doesn't appear that Byfuglien is interested in returning.

"Several teams have inquired but told very doubtful Dustin Byfuglien returns to play in 20-21," said Fox Sports reporter Andy Strickland on Twitter.

Byfuglien, 35, has never officially announced his retirement. But, given the messy divorce between him and his former team, the Winnipeg Jets, it's no surprise that his view of the hockey world may have soured. In September of 2019, Byfuglien was granted an indefinite personal leave of absence by the Jets. There were reports at the time that he was contemplating whether he wanted to continue his professional hockey career. However, Byfuglien was later suspended by the Jets for not reporting to training camp. He underwent surgery for a high ankle sprain in late October of 2019 without direct involvement of the team. There was then a dispute over who should pay for the surgery, with Byfuglien stating his injuries were suffered near the end of the previous season, as well as in the playoffs, while Winnipeg insisted he was given a clean bill of health by team doctors before the offseason. In February of 2020, the Jets announced that Byfuglien would not return for the remainder of the season. Two months later, the Jets and Byfuglien mutually agreed to a contract termination, making Byfuglien a free agent.



Byfuglien has played a total of 869 regular season games, scoring 177 goals and 525 points. At 35, there may not be a lot of time left to play professional hockey, but he can still have an impact for a few years if his heart is into it. However, with this latest development, one has to wonder if it is.

TIM TUCKER
SEPTEMBER 23, 2020  (8H47)