According to a report from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tobias Enstrom has informed general manger Kevin Cheveldayoff that he will NOT be returning to the team for the 2018-19 season and beyond.
The 33 year old defenseman has spent his entire NHL career with the Jets organization, having been drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers back in 2003 (8th round, 239th overall). In 719 career games, Enstrom has 54 goals and 422 points.
The sticking point, according to Friedman, was the way in which Enstrom was handled by head coach Pierre Maurice during the Jets’ second round series against the Nashville Predators.
After his Game 5 scratch versus Nashville, Tobias Enstrom let Winnipeg know he won’t be returning. The Jets/Thrashers are the only franchise he’s known during his NHL career, but it’s time for a change.
For what it’s worth, Enstrom played in 11 post season games for the Jets this season, but failed to put up any points. In just 43 regular season games, he put up a single goal and six points. Early on in his career Enstrom proved himself to be a valuable point production, putting up 50+ points twice in his career and 30+ points six times. After a six point season, a 14 point season and a 16 point season however, it seems like Enstrom’s point producing days are behind him. Luckily, he’s still a capable defensive defenseman capable of playing in just about any situation.
While he may not command huge dollars on the open market, it’s likely that he’ll get at least a one or two year free agent deal from a team seeking some veteran stewardship on the blue line. He’ll be competing with other veteran UFAs on defense like Ian Cole, Dan Hamhuis, Roman Polak and Alexei Emelin.
Meanwhile, the Jets will move forward with a solid blue line corps consisting of Dustin Byfuglien, Tyler Myers, Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey, the latter two both require new contracts for 2018-18, however. The Jets also have 27 year old blue liner Dimitri Kulikov inked for two more seasons at approximately $4.3 million per season.