Ever since Dustin Byfuglien and the Winnipeg Jets mutually terminated his contract, there has been speculation about Byfuglien’s desire to return to the NHL, as well as his physical ability to do so.
Two of Byfuglien’s former teammates chimed in on Monday night. Andrew Ladd and recently-retired Kris Versteeg took to Instagram Live to share stories about “Big Buff” and his potential return to the NHL.
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Ladd: “We saw Buff yesterday. Me, you, Colin Fraser, Troy Brouwer and Buff had a Zoom hangout.”
Versteeg: “What do you think, is he going to play again?”
Ladd: “My guess is he’s 90 percent done.”
Versteeg: “He’s never told me or anything, just by talking. I said I’d be shocked if he played again. But I also said, in two years, if he’s been doing nothing but fishing, he’s the only guy out there that can come back and play again in two years, you know what I mean? Like, there’s no one that can go out, not do s*** and come back and then probably get 30-40 points as a d-man or a forward, whatever position you want to put him at.”
Ladd: “Yeah. He’s just so...he’s so talented, obviously, but he’s just a freak. Like, so strong. I don’t know, he just does everything. He’s played ‘forward/d’...everything.”
So you’re saying there’s a chance!
There are a number of reasons to be skeptical about Byfuglien’s return to the ice. He’s 35 years old, hasn’t played in an NHL game in exactly one calendar year, and there are so many questions about his game-shape as well as the potential salary demands of the three-time NHL All-Star.
But as Versteeg put it, if there was one guy who could come back and still ragdoll guys around the ice, it’s probably Byfuglien.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.