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Enstrom leaves Jets, heads to Sweden for family reasons

Winnipeg Jets v Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB - MARCH 16: Toby Enstrom #39 of the Winnipeg Jets in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on March 16, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

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Toby Enstrom is headed to Sweden for family reasons, and the Winnipeg Jets don’t know when he’ll return.

Paul Maurice told the team website that they hope he’ll be back soon, yet there’s no clear timetable for when the 32-year-old defenseman will suit up again.

With that big contract extension for Dustin Byfuglien and the drama between the organization and Jacob Trouba (which roped in Tyler Myers), it’s easy for a blueliner like Enstrom to get lost in the shuffle. Especially since he’s struggled with injuries in the past.

Still, this a guy who authored two 50-plus point seasons and averages more than 20 minutes of every night for his entire career, including 22:23 per night in 2016-17. Only Byfuglien and Trouba average more, with Byfuglien being the only skater who logged more minutes overall.

“Toby is a big part of this defence,” Ben Chiarot said. “He’s a leader on the team, he’s a big minute guy for us on the back end. It’s a big hole, but everyone will pick up the slack and try to pick those minutes up.”

With little surprise, the team delivered a message of “family’s first” in support of Enstrom’s decision to fly home. It presents another challenge for a team that was already dealing with adversity, though.