Jets defenseman Byfuglien signs lucrative extension


Star defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will remain with the Winnipeg Jets just as he had hoped after signing a lucrative contract extension.

The Jets announced Byfuglien's new five-year deal on Monday, with the 30-year-old to earn $38million at an average annual value of $7.6m in the NHL.

Byfuglien was set to be become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but the Jets successfully removed what would have been one of the most sought-after February 29 trade-deadline targets by reaching an agreement on a new deal. 

He had reportedly asked for $55 million over eight years, but met the team in the middle after the two sides went back and forth.

The extension will make Byfuglien one of the most best-paid defenseman in the league. Only the Montreal Canadiens' P.K. Subban and the Nashville Predators' Shea Weber will have higher salary cap hits at the start of the 2016-17 season.

Byfuglien was initially drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the eighth round of the 2003 NHL Draft but was acquired by the Jets' franchise when it was based in Atlanta after winning the Stanley Cup with the former in 2010.

Over the last six seasons, he has become a beloved and integral component of Winnipeg's growing club.

Byfuglien has netted 15 goals and is fourth in scoring with 32 points in 52 games this season.

He is also averaging the highest ice time of any player in Winnipeg at 24:14 per game.