Why Wouldn’t The Winnipeg Jets Re-sign Their Top Players?

Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien and the Winnipeg Jets – 

In our most recent Winnipeg Hockey Talk podcast, we were discussing the lack of news in regards to Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien when I asked this question.

“When, how and why did we buy-in to this notion that we can’t sign both of them?”  

From WHT Podcast 042 >>> listen HERE 

These conversations started not long after July 1, 2015,  when Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien’s contracts officially entered into their final year with the Winnipeg Jets and contract extensions could be discussed.  The talk was that there is “no way” the Winnipeg Jets could or should offer contract extensions to both players.  The Winnipeg Jets can’t afford both Andrew Ladd or Dustin Byfuglien.   HUH?   Right from the get-go, we have been hearing this stance from anybody that had an opinion. 


I believe that boredom breeds a lot of speculation and we all know that talk radio, tv, bloggers and the print media need something to talk about during the summer and that is the part that bothers me.  It’s all speculation.  When you live in a hockey crazed market like Winnipeg and especially the way TNSE keeps a lid on their business, the only way to talk hockey or write about the Winnipeg Jets is to speculate.  This talk is certainly not coming from Kevin Cheveldayoff or Mark Chipman.

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There are many valid reasons for re-signing either or both, as well as trading either or both, and these reasons are certainly up for discussion.  There is concern that if the Winnipeg Jets don’t re-sign either or both before training camp that their trade value will be less and the longer they remain in limbo their trade value diminishes.  This is a very valid point.  There is also a great fear amongst Winnipeg Jets fans that they could lose one or both these players the way the Jets lost Michael Frolik.  I can’t say I blame Winnipeg Jets fans.  The Jets haven’t exactly been stellar in the “asset management” department and some will say they have had some valid reasons although I don’t buy-in to some of them.  But that’s another conversation.


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I’m not saying the Winnipeg Jets should trade or re-sign Ladd or Buff.  I’m saying that if our management and our ownership think that they are players that bring something to the table then why wouldn’t you re-sign them?  If they are considered leaders and top players, isn’t the object to sign the “good players”, replace the “not-so-good” players (with our wealth of terrific prospects) and become a strong contending team?


Is the goal to replace the “good players” that will command bigger dollars with “good young players” that are affordable and just keep washing, rinsing, and repeating into an endless cycle of mid-of-the-pack mediocrity?


I understand that when you are looking at extending players like Ladd and Byfuglien you need to factor in age, wear and tear, return on investment, player comparables, blah, blah, blah, etc, etc.  Owners, GMs and fans aren’t equipped with crystal balls so you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.  Are the Chicago Blackhawks going to regret signing Jonathon Toews and Patrick Kane to those monster deals?  Not right away but definitely somewhere down the road. This is the new world we live in.  This article isn’t about the merits of re-signing Andrew Ladd or Dustin Byfuglien, it is about whether you’re a player or a spectator.  You are either “in” or you’re “in the way”.  

If you can’t or don’t want to “piss in the tall weeds with the big dogs” you don’t belong in the game.

Editor’s Note:

This article was written before the Calgary Flames announced the 6 year, $40,000,000 contract extension of defenceman Mark Giordano and this contract will definitely be used as a comparable by Dustin Byfuglien and his agent.



  1. Scott Swail says

    Important to note that the Jets did not lose Frolik. They knew he was gone during the spring. They weren’t going to meet his price, they already knew that Burmistrov was coming back, and they have youngsters who are about ready to step up to the plate. Loved Frolik, but he wasn’t worth $4M to the Jets who have other players who can play at par at $1.5-$2M/season. I’ll be shocked if Ehlers isn’t on a third line this fall, with Morrissey somehow in the top six defensemen.

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      I agree … Ehlers will have to play himself off the opening day roster … as for Josh, I think the Jets need to thin the herd on defence before they keep him BUT ultimately his play will dictate if he’s Jets or Moose bound.

  2. Todd Leroux says

    A couple of (tangential) points I wonder about (just confuse things further) are:

    1. team identity (will it change, when and by how much)?
    2. the ‘going concern’ factor (gotta pay a little extra for the role-models for the up and comings, don’t you?)

    Byfuglien satisfies current team identity point, and Ladd satisfies ‘going concern’ factor. IMO.

    As I feel team identity will be modified with more skill entering the line-up (if it meets expectations), I think the team should entertain offers or test the market for Byfuglien regardless of cap (internal or external).

    What’s more, Byfuglien seems a bit flaky to me (reasons/examples provided if tasked), so I think he is a risky investment (especially when it’s for 5+ years)..

    Hence, to me, he’s worth more to team success for what he can bring back as opposed to what he brings (sometimes) on the ice.

    Trade Byfuglien if the return can be justified to the fans!

    Finally, on a completely different note: boy bands past their due dates? Had a first-hand and humourous experience with Marilyn Manson at a music festival here in Japan (near Tokyo). 46 years old, pot-bellied and had to use recorded sound. The highlight of the show was when he walked thru’ the crowd and then had some stage hand help him get back on stage – 3 attempts, a near fall and he ended up rolling back onto the stage.

    Just wanted to share that.

    And, can’t believe hockey is right around the corner.

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      I believe trading Buff in a solid hockey trade would be fine by most Jets fans. RE: Marilyn Manson … maybe he was rusty getting back on stage after his acting stint on Sons of “Anarchy”.

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