Jets defenseman Toby Enstrom has informed the team that he will not be returning next season, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports in his latest 31 Thoughts column. This came shortly after he was a healthy scratch for Game Five of their second round series against Nashville.
This means that Enstrom will be leaving the only organization he has ever been a part of, going back to their days as the Atlanta Thrashers. The 33-year-old was an eighth-round pick of Atlanta back in 2003 and has suited up in 719 NHL games between the Thrashers and Jets since then.
His role was drastically reduced in 2017-18 so this departure doesn’t come as too much of a surprise. Enstrom played in just 43 regular season games due to various injuries while his ice time was cut by nearly five full minutes per game. For someone used to being a top-four defender and the fact that when healthy, Josh Morrissey and Dmitry Kulikov are ahead of him on the depth chart on the left side (plus their core of Dustin Byfuglien, Tyler Myers, and Jacob Trouba on the right), a parting of the ways was likely.
Enstrom will now hit the open market in search of a new team this summer. While his offensive numbers have eroded in recent years, he is still an effective puck mover from the back end and the fact he has logged heavy minutes in the past will certainly help him garner interest from other teams around the league. Despite that, he will certainly be faced with the prospect of taking a significant pay cut as he stands no chance of coming close to the $5.75MM he has made for each of the last five years.