Jets' Byfuglien calls Winnipeg 'somewhere you don't want to leave'
Tyler Myers rings the tying goal off the post with under a minute to play in the 3rd period
As rumours, trade talks and contract discussions continue to swirl around Jets' defenceman Dustin Byfuglien, the big man stated bluntly on Tuesday that Winnipeg is where he wants to be.
Asked during a post-game scrum with reporters if he would like to re-sign with Winnipeg, Byfuglien didn't hesitate.
"Yeah, I would love to," he said, after scoring a goal in the Jets' 5-3 loss to the Dallas Stars at MTS Centre.
He now has 30 points (15 goals, 15 assists) in 50 games. The most goals he's scored in a season is 20 — in 2010-2011 with the Atlanta Thrashers before the franchise relocated to Winnipeg, and in 2013-14 with the Jets.
His highest point total for a season also came in 2013-14, when he finished with 56 (20 goals, 36 assists) in 78 games.
"You know, I've met a lot of good people and have some really good friends. I've been here are really long time and you know you, never want to leave home," he said.
'I've been here are really long time and you know you never want to leave home.'- Dustin Byfuglien
"I've been here long enough, my family has been here and I had two kids here. It's somewhere you don't want to leave."
During his time in Nashville last weekend for the NHL All-Star game, when Byfuglien was asked by reporters about the contract talks hanging over his head, he called Winnipeg his "style of town." An avid outdoorsman, he also noted Manitoba's many lakes for boating and fishing, and numerous hunting opportunities.
The 6-foot-5 fan favourite can become an unrestricted free agent if the Jets don't resign him before the trade deadline at the end of this month.
Byfuglien, 31, is earning a base-salary this season of $6 million — the final year of a five-year, $26 million contract initially signed with the Thrashersg.
Second period collapse
The Jets played with the lead for most of the first half of Tuesday's game against the Stars but at the 14:41 mark of the second period, things began to unravel.
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That's when Jason Demers fed the puck to John Klingberg on a Dallas 3-on-0 rush. Klingberg beat a helpless Connor Hellebuyck.
Just over two minutes later Fiddler would score another for the Stars and the Jets were unable to come back from the deficit.
Byfuglien said that it was a game that was there for the Jets to win but they let it slip away.
With files from Brett Purdy