This past weekend Winnipeg Jets’ defenseman Jacob Trouba made it known to the hockey world that he has requested a trade out of Winnipeg. While many believe it was related to the fact that the restricted free agent is still without an NHL contract, after making high demands, Trouba insists that his trade request is “an opportunity to realize his potential as a right-shot defenseman,” as his agent reported. He hopes to achieve this feat by playing the right side on another team’s top-four pairing, something he hasn’t been able to do in Winnipeg.
Trouba has been a key component to the Winnipeg Jets’ organization since he was drafted ninth overall in 2012 and has since become a cornerstone defenseman on the team. Now, it looks like the Jets will have to part ways with a player who they envisioned as part of their future, due to the fact that they couldn’t honour his wish in taking on top-line minutes with the team on the right side.
Not all looks gloomy in Winnipeg surrounding the Trouba situation, however, as the team looks to have a bright future and should have no problems moving on without the young defenseman for a few reasons.
Right Side Locked Down
The reason Trouba wants out of Winnipeg (according to him) is due to the lack of opportunity on the Jets’ right-side blueline. With hulking veteran defensemen Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers occupying the right side on the top two pairings, this leaves Trouba playing third-line minutes when he believes he’s ready for more opportunity.
As a right-shot defenseman, Trouba could take on more responsibility with a team that’s lacking right-handed D, and there are a few teams in the League that would love to plug Trouba into their lineup because of his age and strong hands alone.
The Return Will Be High
Skilled, young blueliners are hard to come by in today’s NHL, and now the Jets have one up for sale. Recognizing this and the goldmine on defense they currently possess, Jets’ GM Kevin Cheveldayoff knows other teams will be inquiring about Trouba’s services and pushing to beat other teams’ offers in order to land the stud defenseman. He knows the return on Trouba will be high, and he’ll be playing his cards right to ensure the Jets receive the best return that they can get.
There has been and will be significant interest in Trouba, but WPG, assuming it does trade him, will be looking for a big haul.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) September 24, 2016
Reports have circulated that the Jets are asking for a left-shot defenseman around the same calibre and age of Trouba, but Cheveldayoff will be listening to what teams have to offer and maybe open to accepting something different in return should the offer be too good to refuse.
Prospects in the Waiting
Losing Trouba won’t decimate the Jets as they have a strong pool of defensive prospects waiting in the wings. Josh Morrisey looks like he could make the NHL this season with a strong training camp, and the Jets recently drafted towering defenseman Logan Stanley 18th overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft back in June. Stanley is a promising young defenseman who will undoubtedly be with the team in coming years after a little more development and tooling to his game.
For the return, they can get on Trouba, and with the pipeline of prospects they have on D, it makes sense for the Jets to move on from Trouba and start building around what they still have, by using this young-chip as trade bait to reel in more talent.
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Winnipeg is known for its harsh winds and cold weather, but the team shouldn’t feel any less warm at heart without Trouba on board (should he be traded before the season commences) as this will seem like yesterday’s news once all is said and done.
The Jets will get a good return on Trouba, pieces that will only make the team better, and there are prospects waiting to take his place should the Jets not replace him in a trade directly involving another player. All is well in Winnipeg, though Trouba may not be on the team come October 13 when the Jets open their season at home against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Keep your head up Jets fans, the future is still bright in snowy Manitoba.
4th year Sport Management student at Brock University.