Not every player is going to agree with what decisions their teammate or the the team they play for makes. No matter what the players say to the media, it’s not always going to truly reflect how they feel. It rarely ever does.
In wake of the news that 22 year old restricted free agent Jacob Trouba has requested a trade, a handful of Jets players were interviewed on the matter and their answers largely echoed the same stance, except one.
Veteran players Chris Thorburn, Mark Stuart and Ondrej Pavelec gave the typical answer in these type of situations by saying that it’s a business decision and while they would like to have Trouba in the room it’s out of their control.
You knew that those players weren’t going to provide anything for the media to run with.
Then, Andrew Copp, Trouba’s childhood friend and roommate spoke from a perspective of a worried friend. Putting hockey matters aside and stating the happiness of his friend is what’s most important and it’s unfortunate things couldn’t play out in Winnipeg.
But what really made headlines is what forward Mathieu Perreault had to say on the matter. ” I’m disappointed in him asking for that,” Perreault said. ” It’s a little selfish of him. I don’t understand it.” Now, why would this be a selfish move by Trouba? He’s a restricted free agent and is not required to sign with the Jets, he has some freedom in that regard.
” He plays big minutes for us. He was a top defenceman.” Perreault continued. “We like him and want him here, All of the sudden he wants out. It’s something we don’t really appreciate.” Looking at logistics you can understand why this situation would frustrate a teammate of Trouba’s. Was Perreault’s two cents on the matter what is really on the minds of Jets players?
Where there’s smoke there’s fire, it’s likely Perreault is not the only one thinking this way.
The Trouba holdout has been characterized by his agent as purely due to the fact Trouba is not getting the opportunity to reach his full potential as a right shot defenseman. While Trouba is the team’s third right shot defenseman behind Tyler Myers and Dustin Byfuglien, that doesn’t mean his usage has been reduced substantially and he’s fighting for minutes. Trouba averaged 22:03 of ice time per game last season while Tyler Myers who is the team’s second best right shot defenseman averaged a mere 34 seconds more. Both Trouba and Myers played top 4 defenseman minutes and ultimately, Trouba got the minutes he deserved.
On top of that, Paul Maurice has indicated this offseason that Trouba would be on the top pairing this upcoming season on the left side with the Jets best defender, Dustin Byfuglien.
If opportunity and usage is the main arguing point here, there is no plausible argument from Trouba’s camp.
Not only would Trouba’s minutes increase next year, they’d be playing alongside one of the league’s premier defenseman. With that being proposed, playing on his off side shouldn’t even be thought of as a concern, the opportunity Trouba would have had next year could be the best one available to him in the league.
How hard is it really to play defense on your opposite side?
Sure there is a disadvantage if a D-man plays on their weak side. Situations such as board battles on their opposite side could be challenging at first but is it really enough of an issue to request a trade over? Even with all that he could accomplish with Byfuglien as his partner and likely eclipsing 25 minutes per night?
Maybe the request is more than about what side he defends on. The thought of re-upping in Winnipeg for another 5 years may not entice Trouba and a bridge deal likely isnt even in the cards. There could be more to this than just the usage that Trouba is holding out for, there could be more to the story, but we will likely never know.
Mathieu Perreault spoke his mind and overall, spoke the truth. Perreault seems to have bought in with the Jets after signing a four year extension with the club, Mark Scheifele is invested in for another 8 years, Dustin Byfuglien signed for another 5 and all seem to be in the firm belief the Jets could be something special in the near future. Everyone seems to be bought in and with Trouba refusing to come to camp and turning down a top pairing opportunity on a promising team because of which side he plays?
That likely ticks off a few more players than just Perreault.