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Rumor Roundup: Contract talks on hold, but don't expect Jets to deal Byfuglien

It appears the Jets and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien are willing to see how the season unfolds before they get into serious discussions. One thing's for sure, the Jets won't be moving him anytime soon.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien frequently popped up in the off-season rumor mill. His eligibility next summer for unrestricted free agency and the Jets reputation as a budget club fuelled speculation he could be dealt this season.

ESPN.com's John Buccigross was asked by one of his readers if the Detroit Red Wings might take a run at Byfuglien. While Buccigross believes the Wings are well set for cap space, he doubts they'll target “Big Buff” because the 30-year-old blueliner isn't an organizational pillar.

To date, there's no word regarding the status of contract negotiations between Byfuglien and Jets management. It appears both sides are willing to see how the season unfolds before they get into serious discussions. One thing's for sure, the Jets won't be moving him anytime soon.

Several NHL teams, notably the Boston Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets, are rumored to be in the market for a defenseman. It's interesting to note the Philadelphia Flyers haven't cropped up as a trade partner for those clubs.

With just over $670K in salary-cap space, the Flyers possess little wiggle room for any additions over the course of the season. It's thought management wants to move out a salaried defenseman to create some cap room and call up one of their promising blueliners.

Since last season, veteran Luke Schenn was considered a possible trade candidate. The 25-year-old rearguard is in the final season of his contract at an annual cap hit of $3.6 million, becoming eligible next July for unrestricted free agency.

Sporstnet's Elliotte Friedman claims the Flyers tried trading Schenn, but cannot find any takers. One reason is probably his limited playing time, as he was a frequent healthy scratch in October. Unless Schenn gets into the lineup with more frequency, the Flyers will continue finding him it difficult to move this season.

With the opening month of this season nearly gone, the Minnesota Wild are still carrying three goaltenders. Sportsnet's Damien Cox notes veteran Niklas Backstrom remains the odd man out behind Devan Dubnyk and Darcy Kuemper.

Cox claims the Wild wanted to trade Backstrom, and he's willing to waive his no-movement clause. Given their goaltending woes of recent years, however, he believes they'll keep the 37-year-old as insurance.

With just over $1.18 million in cap room, the Wild don't have a pressing need to move Backstrom. For now, they can afford to keep him on the roster.

Trading him, however, is easier said than done. Backstrom is an aging netminder with a lengthy injury history with an annual cap hit of $3.4 million and an actual salary this season of $4 million. Even if he's willing to accept a trade, there just isn't any interest in him.

Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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