Atlanta Couldn't Waste Time With Byfuglien
I recently wrote about how talks between the Atlanta Thrashers and All-Star D-man Dustin Byfuglien had begun. Both sides knew that coming up with proper comparables to assist in determining Byfuglien’s value was going to be tricky . This was somewhat confusing considering the massive D-man was playing forward in the Stanley Cup finals just a few months ago.
In the end both sides agreed Byfuglien is a pretty good hockey player with a bright future in this league. Put it in a blender, mix it up, and you have a player the franchise hopes they can build around.
The Minnesota native is coming off an emotional, once in a lifetime ride winning the Stanley Cup last spring. Coming to Atlanta was a change that took some time to adjust. In the end, a source close to Byfuglien tells me he compared the situation in Atlanta to that of Chicago just a few years ago. When Byfuglien first arrived in Chicago the franchise wasn’t selling out the United Center. It took some time to build something special which is what he’s hoping to create in Atlanta. Byfuglien wanted to be a part of it and he was given $26 million reason why. You can say he’s a bit overpaid with his new five year contract but a year ago at this time people were saying he was overpaid at $3 million a season. His career has taken off and the Thrashers knew they had to lock him up. If they allowed him to play out next season without an extension in place they would be opening up the possibility of losing their star player.
That scenario is far too familiar to Thrashers fans.
You can guarantee players like Shea Weber, and Keith Yandle were paying close attention to these negotiations. Both sides looked at the seven year extension Kings D-man Jack Johnson recently signed as well as some older contracts signed by Ed Jovanovski and Bryan McCabe.
More to come,
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