Trouba Trade Watch Begins
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba’s trade request is generating speculation over potential destinations. Read on for the latest.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman noted Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba’s trade request is based on his desire to play top-pairing minutes as a right-handed blueliner. With Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers ahead of him on the Jets’ depth chart, Trouba feels he won’t get that opportunity anytime soon in Winnipeg. The blueliner also stressed his decision had nothing to do with the city, the organization or the coaching staff.
In a statement, Trouba’s agent Kevin Overhardt said he’s been working with Jets management on facilitating a trade since May. Friedman cites sources saying the Jets landing the second-overall pick in the 2016 NHL draft and selecting promising winger Patrik Laine complicated the Trouba trade process, citing an executive from a rival club claiming it raised the asking price.
Friedman also reports there’s no concern about Trouba’s signability, noting how quickly another Overhardt client, Kyle Turris, re-signed with the Ottawa Senators after his trade. He wonders what impact this could have upon other currently unsigned RFAs, such as “Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm, Arizona’s Tobias Rieder, Buffalo’s Rasmus Ristolainen, Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau and Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov.”
CBS SPORTS: Chris Peters lists the Boston Bruins, Arizona Coyotes, Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings as the top-five clubs in need of a top-pairing right-handed blueliner such as Trouba.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports the Red Wings have sought a top-three defenseman with a right-handed shot for some time. They previously inquired about Anaheim Ducks blueliner Cam Fowler and St. Louis Blues rearguard Kevin Shattenkirk. Khan speculates any deal for Trouba will likely have to include a top-six forward forward such as Tomas Tatar or Gustav Nyquist. The Jets could also seek a left-shooting d-man as part of the return, plus the Wings would have to clear cap space to re-sign Trouba. Brendan Smith seems the logical choice, but Khan notes his value has declined and he’s eligible next summer for UFA status.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins suggest Trouba’s availability could present a golden opportunity for the Oilers to add a right-shooting defenseman with upside to their blueline. Trouba, however, will have to want to play in Edmonton and must be re-signed. He’ll also have to be protected in next year’s expansion draft. The Oilers must also clear some cap room for Trouba’s new contract.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie said via Twitter the Coyotes have been and will likely continue to be a serious suitor for Trouba.
NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz suggests the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche immediately come to mind as three clubs that could use Trouba.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Back in December, it was reported the Trouba camp sought an eight-year deal worth $7 million per season. It’ll be interesting to see if they still seek that much or will tailor their salary demands to fit the cap space of the teams that could be pursuing him. Even then, finding a team with suitable assets won’t be easy.
The Wings sit $4 million over the $73 million cap ceiling, and while they’ll get cap relief by placing Johan Franzen and Joe Vitale on long-term injury reserve, they’ll still have to shed a lot of salary to sign Trouba to even a reasonable contract. The Rangers only have $1.4 million in cap space and not very much the cost-conscious Jets will want in return. Marc Staal’s a left-handed shot, but he’ll have to waive his no-movement clause and I don’t see him doing so to go to Winnipeg.
The Bruins have $5.8 million in cap room and young assets to offer up, but the Jets could ask for Torey Krug (a left-handed shot) as part of the return. The Devils have lots of cap room ($12.6 million), more than enough to afford a big raise for Trouba, but they’re lacking defensemen to offer up if the Jets want a blueliner as part of the return. They also don’t have many quality young forwards to spare.
The Oilers have the advantage of cap space ($8.9 million) and lots of good young assets, but the asking price could be defenseman Darnell Nurse, which is probably a deal breaker.
I’m not saying there’s no deal to be had, but the Jets won’t just give Trouba away. Hanging over this is the December 1 signing deadline for restricted free agents. If Trouba remains unsigned by then, he’s ineligible to play the remainder of this season.
Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will likely take his time evaluating offers and has over two months to find the right deal. How long it takes remains to be seen and will likely provide considerable fodder for the trade-rumor mill.