Tag: Mark Stuart


Report: ‘Nothing more than preliminary discussions’ between Jets, Byfuglien


Here’s the latest from the Free Press on talks between Winnipeg and d-man Dustin Byfuglien, who’s set to become an unrestricted free agent next July:

Byfuglien, like [Andrew] Ladd, is also a pending UFA at the send of next season. According to the player’s agent, nothing more than preliminary discussions regarding the big defenseman have taken place.

Ladd is the No. 1 priority and must be the first domino to fall.

It’s expected that Ladd, the team’s captain, will likely get his desired extension (the Free Press figures it’ll be “north of $6 million” annually, and “in the range of $40 million” overall.) At 29 and coming off a career-high 62 points, he’s vitally important to the Jets and looks to be paid accordingly.

Which brings us to Byfuglien.

Though he’s coming off a stellar campaign of his own — 45 points in 69 games, an All-Star nod — Byfuglien plays on one of the NHL’s deepest bluelines. Tyler Myers (25 years old) and Jacob Trouba (21) represent the future, while Tobias Enstrom and Mark Stuart are locked in through 2018. All told, the Jets currently have 10 blueliners on NHL deals — Byfuglien, Myers, Trouba, Enstrom, Stuart, Grant Clitsome, Adam Pardy, Paul Postma and Ben Chiarot — and a pair of bright young prospects in Josh Morrissey and Jan Kostalek on the horizon.

So it’s fair to suggest something has to give.

Byfuglien’s heading into the last of a five-year, $26 million deal that pays $5.2M annually. Though he’s now officially on the wrong side of 30 — he’ll be 31 next March — Byfuglien likely still has high value across the league, and scored a handful of Norris votes this season.

So, the big question: If the Jets can’t afford to pay Byfuglien, especially after the Ladd extension, can they afford to let him hit free agency and lose an asset for nothing? GM Kevin Cheveldayoff already did that this summer with Michael Frolik, who flew the coop to sign in Calgary.

Can’t imagine Chevy wants that to happen again.

Crowded blueline: Jets ink Postma to two-year, $1.775M deal

Paul Postma

Having already re-upped with Adam Pardy and Ben Chiarot this summer, the Jets retained another depth defenseman on Friday by giving Paul Postma a two-year, $1.775 million extension.

The deal, which carries an $887,500 cap hit, comes after Postma appeared in a career-high 42 games last year, averaging 14:08 TOI per night. The 26-year-old was a lineup regular for the first three months of the season, but phased out in the second half of the campaign due to healthy scratches and a lower-body injury.

This extension puts Postma firmly back in the mix, however, and it’s a crowded mix…

Right now, there are 10 blueliners in the fold: Pardy, Chiarot, Postma, Trouba, Tobias Enstrom, Dustin Byfuglien, Tyler Myers, Mark Stuart, Jay Harrison and Grant Clitsome, who is coming off back surgery. While it’s not surprising to see Winnipeg stockpile bodies — injuries ravaged the defense last year — it’ll be interesting to see if the Jets can carry this many contracts, or if a trade will eventually be orchestrated.

Worth mentioning the Jets also have touted prospect Josh Morrissey, the 13th overall pick in 2013, on the horizon.

Jets ink d-man Chiarot to two-year, $1.7M extension

Winnipeg Jets v St Louis Blues

After a solid rookie campaign, Ben Chiarot has re-upped in Winnipeg.

On Thursday, Chiarot agreed to a two-year, $1.7 million extension with the Jets, the club announced. The deal carries an average annual cap hit of $850K, up from the $600K he made annually on his last contract.

The 24-year-old scored eight points in 40 games this year, missing a fairly significant chunk of time to a broken hand. Recalled in December with the Jets facing a rash of injuries on defense, Chiarot impressed enough to become a regular in the rotation, averaging over 17 minutes a night while playing in a pair of playoff games during Winnipeg’s opening-round sweep at the hands of Anaheim.

At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, Chiarot’s extension means Winnipeg’s blueline will continue to boast a physical presence, as he’s locked in alongside Dustin Byfuglien (6-foot-5, 260 pounds), Tyler Myers (6-8, 219). Jacob Trouba (6-2, 200) and Mark Stuart (6-2, 213).

Ducks complete sweep of Jets before whiteout crowd in Winnipeg


The Winnipeg Jets might look back on this series with the Anaheim Ducks and see a number of missed opportunities that proved costly.

The Jets held third-period leads in each of the first three games, and couldn’t hold on. The Ducks led the league in third-period comebacks during the regular season, and continued that trend in this series.

On Wednesday, the Ducks silenced the Jets with a 5-2 win in Winnipeg. The Ducks are off to the second round after completing the sweep.

“Every time we gained an inch, they came back with two. It was just one of those things. It was an even series,” said Blake Wheeler, as per Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun.

As the final seconds ticked down, the fans, clad in white, stood to salute their team. Their team saluted the fans following the handshake. It’s been 19 years since a Stanley Cup playoff game took place in that city and Jets fans were loud from start to finish during Games 3 and 4.

A force in Game 3, Ryan Kesler showed up in similar fashion in the clincher, scoring twice in the third period, including the winner less than seven minutes into the third period.

The Jets made a game of it.

As the fans stood up, trying to give their team a push, Mark Stuart scored on a point shot right off a faceoff to get Winnipeg within a goal and with more than nine minutes left to find the equalizer.

But Kesler finished it off, killing any chance of a comeback with his second of the period.

Jets sure Byfuglien didn’t mean to crosscheck Miller’s neck

Dustin Byfuglien

The league announced that Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has been suspended for four of the Jets’ remaining five games for his “dangerous” crosscheck in the back of the neck to a “defenseless” J.T. Miller. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault called the actions against Miller “violent” and “deliberate,” but the Jets don’t feel Byfuglien is that type of player.

“He’s not a guy that is a dirty player, so he definitely didn’t mean to do that,” Mark Stuart told TSN. “He’s not out there to injure guys.”

Jets captain Andrew Ladd has reviewed the video of the incident and realizes it doesn’t look good, but he feels you lose context when watching what happened in slow motion.

“I think it’s easy to slow it down after the fact,” Ladd said.

“In the course of a game, things happen quick. I know he didn’t mean to get him in the neck. He was probably trying to get him in the back and hit the wrong spot.”

Winnipeg has just a two point edge over Los Angeles in the battle for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference and the Kings have played in one less game. Los Angeles also has the edge in ROW, so the tie would go to the Kings.

Byfuglien is a critical player for the Jets, averaging 22:39 minutes per game. He has 18 goals, 45 points, and 122 penalty minutes in 68 contests.