Last week, it was reported that the Jets were trying again to re-sign him. Now, it seems they may be trying to trade him. Only a few days after it was reported that the Winnipeg Jets had re-opened contract talks with big bad blueliner, Dustin Byfuglien, word has come that the Jets may have offered Byfuglien to the New York Islanders as part of a trade package for defenseman Travis Hamonic.
The Isles and GM Garth Snow, unsurprisingly, said no thanks to acquiring a talented player with no term left on his current deal, according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, via Today's Slap Shot. They may have also turned up their collective New York noses at a deal for Tyler Myers, a former first-rounder acquired by the Jets last season as part of the Evander Kane deal.
This wouldn't be the first time - and likely won't be the last - that the Jets and Islanders are linked by reports of what and whom the Jets could part ways with in order to land Hamonic. He's a high-quality, top-four defenseman scratching at the door of "elite." He's not there yet, but he desperately wants to be a Jet and it's not often that budding NHL stars intentionally choose to land in Western Canada. By adding him, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff would immediately turn his defensive group into one of the best in the league.
But there are almost too many moving parts to count.
Jacob Trouba is young and remains under the Jets' control at little cost. He's said to be the apple of the Islanders' eye, but he's also said to be the one piece that Cheveldayoff won't part ways with. He's not a better player than Hamonic, but his upside is tremendous and there's certainly a chance there for him to develop beyond Hamonic.
Trade bait or not, Byfuglien's contract is playing a large role in potential trade talks as well. He's an unrestricted free agent after the season and his talent and offensive skill mean he's going to get paid, and handsomely, by someone - quite possibly someone other than the Jets. The Jets were said to have opened the line of communications with Big Buff's reps over the past week or so, but there's no telling whether that was to gauge numbers on a new deal with the Jets or perhaps another future employer. Per The Fourth Period, Byfuglien has a limited no-trade clause, which means he can list five times he's not willing to be traded to.
And then there's Myers - a good, not great player who lacks the kind of edge you'd want out of a guy his size. His deal becomes more favorable as it goes along, so that's a point in his favor, but there's no denying Hamonic is the better player and thus that a deal would require more going back to the Islanders.
In the end though, Friedman has not wavered in his belief that if any team can put together a package for Hamonic, it's Winnipeg. It may simply come down to what Trouba, who is a pending restricted free agent, wants on his next deal.
— Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) November 30, 2015