Analyzing the Jacob Trouba deal

The Jacob Trouba holdout has come to an end. According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, Jacob Trouba has signed a two-year contact with an AAV of 3 million dollars. That’s a particularly low cap hit for a player that likely turned down a longer tenured deal with the Jets, in the hopes of getting out of Winnipeg as soon as possible. 

Why does the contract carry such short length along with a small cap hit? I think it’s pretty safe to say this kind of deal was designed to attract teams to trade for Trouba and ultimately to increase the value of Trouba. 

Trouba signing this deal wasn’t a sign of wanting to get back to Winnipeg as fast he can. Rather, hoping to get out of Winnipeg as fast as he can.  

24 days before the December 1st deadline, Jacob Trouba caved. But what other option did the Restricted Free Agent have? Sit out the whole year? Trouba, or any athlete for that matter, simply can’t afford to sit out an entire year over contract/usage demands. They would lose far more than they would gain. By sitting out the whole year, Trouba would have likely not only plummeted his stock on the trade market, but most importantly, hindered his own performance and ability in the process.

But Jets fans, don’t get too comfortable with the notion of Jacob Trouba signing with the Winnipeg Jets. He may not be around with Winnipeg for much longer. From Trouba’s end, his views on his long-term fit in Winnipeg likely haven’t changed. The Jets likely continue to explore the trade market and giving Trouba such a low cap-hit, further increases the value he has on the market. The contact likely will see Trouba play a handful of games in a Jets uniform for the purpose of working the rust off along with showcasing what he can do for potential buyers. 

Signing a bridge deal allows Trouba to re-up with a team ( likely one that isn’t the Jets) quite quickly. 

The contract helps both sides. Trouba gets an opportunity to get back in to game-shape with the team and he gets the opportunity to prove he’s worth a top right-side defenseman spot. And for the Jets, they have a player with lots of value that has a easily moveable low cap-hit, Trouba’s trade value escalates and thus the package the Jets would get in return would as well. 

Trouba’s situation parallels to another one of his agent Kurt Overhardt client’s, Kyle Turris. Back in 2011, Turris was in a contract stalemate with the Pheonix Coyotes. Similar to Trouba, Turris signed a bridge deal weeks before the deadline in hopes of being traded. His wish was granted and Turris was shipped off to the Ottawa Senators on November 22nd. 

For both parties sake, one would hope that Trouba can play consistently and efficiently when he suits up for the Jets. For the Jets to satisfy Trouba’s trade request, Trouba will have to put his money where his mouth is and show he is a top right pairing defender to increase his value. And for the Jets sake, one would hope Trouba can preform well enough that along with his low-cap hit they can score a high-valued return for the defenseman. The Jets aren’t going to trade a declining asset.

The Jets originally seeked a left handed defenseman with equal or more value to Jacob Trouba, but that is pretty hard-pressed to find. The Jets likely will be looking at acquiring a left handed defenseman that may not be up to par with Trouba, but a kicker of a pick or prospect could even the deal out. 

It’s hard to really find an angle where the Jets and Trouba find a happy ending where Trouba stays a Jet for the remainder of the season or even a good chunk of his career. With the way the contact is constructed, it looks like a trade is imminent. 

  • Brock Landers

    Hopefully they keep him for the year and trade him once draft order is set. There’s still no reason to rush this and the Jets need him in their line-up this early in the year, especially with Myers banged up.

  • Brock Landers

    Chevy will keep him until he gets what he wants from another team. I believe that Trouba will be moved at the trade deadline when teams will overpay for a top young d-man.

  • Eddie O rules!

    1. the contract does not make it easier to move him, as this contract could have been signed at any point to make a trade happen.

    2. Chevy caved, not Trouba. Chevy wanted a long term contract and he didn’t get it. The length of the contract increases the pressure on Chevy to make a trade and at worst (for Trouba) gets him to UFA as quick as possible.

    3. Sure another team can extend the contract July 1st, but the older Trouba gets, the better he plays, the more expensive his next contract gets. A 6 yr 5 mill contract would have probably been more attractive to some teams. The bridge does keep open the possibilities of going to a cap team during the season, but overall I think it’s a wash as far as being an “attractive” contract.

    • SwissCanuck

      I tend to disagree. Sure the contract could have been signed at anytime, but likely wasn’t because both parties were looking for something better.

      In my view it’s kicking the can down the road, but Trouba gets to play this year and the Jets have time to contemplate their next move. I have to wonder who is advising Trouba financially though. If as you say, he could have gotten $5M, or even $5.5M per year, the only way he makes up for the shortfall considering time value of money is to cash in for $6.5-$7M per year or more. For his sake, he better have a great year!

    • jetsfanmike

      Substitute Davidson for Darnell Nurse plus the 1st round pick and Chevy would probably have to at least consider it.

      However, there’s no way he’d do the trade for a low level prospect like Davidson.

      The team that gets the best player typically wins the trade, and right now Chevy wouldn’t trade Trouba for Nurse straight up, so that’s why the 1st round pick’s needed.

      Over the long run, the Jets may win the trade if Nurse becomes more than a bottom pair guy and the 1st round pick works out, but there’s a lot of risk on the Jets side whereas Trouba has already shown that he’s at least a top 4 defenseman and more likely a solid #2 with potential to be the #1 defenseman on his team.

      • A-Mc

        I think your projection for Trouba is ambitious and you’re undervaluing the different aspects of Nurses game but all opinions aside:

        Trouba’s main complaint is that he’s too far down the depth chart in WPG, although other concerns are rumored as well. He is only now returning from a holdout and i can’t imagine that management has confidence in their ability to re-sign him to something long term or else they would have done it already. All signs point to Trouba still wanting out, IMO. From Managements perspective, do you protect Trouba in the expansion draft?

        I dont think they do. They already have to protect 3 Defensemen due to NMC’s (Buff, Enstrom,Stuart) and i can’t see them letting Myers get picked off for nothing (That’s 4)…so I think they try to move Trouba before hand. This puts a deadline on moving the player or else he will surely be lost for nothing in expansion. Chev is at a serious disadvantage right now, so while you think Nurse + 1st is fair value, i doubt the other 29 GMs come anywhere close to that because Chevs hands are tied.

        This is a tricky year because of the expansion draft.

        • jetsfanmike

          I just ran the hero charts for Trouba versus Nurse.

          Own the Puck’s Hero Chart for Nurse projects there’s a 67% chance for Nurse to either be a “depth” defenseman (32%) or be in the “top 6” (35%) based on past performance, and these are their two worst categories for defensemen.

          Trouba on the other hand is at 69% to be either a “top 4” defenseman (32%) or in the “top 2” for his team (37%) meaning he’s a slightly better bet to be elite versus the high probability that Nurse will be unremarkable based on both of their histories of play in the NHL.

          After this comparison, I agree with you that the trade I outlined would never happen, but for a different reason than the one that you’ve given.

          Basically, Nurse is just way, way too unremarkable to be enough even with a first round draft pick to entice the Jets to make this deal with Edmonton.

  • A-Mc

    I think this contract works in favor of both parties involved. Neither Trouba, nor the Jets, could afford to have him shelved for the season. He would be worthless next year if that had happened (Unless he was able to go play overseas).

    The $ and Term are very attractive for prospective trade partners and is also very palatable for the Jets; it leaves them room for a Trade deadline acquisition if they are in playoff contention.

  • A-Mc

    No amount of lopsided hero charts are going to save Chev from the scenario where Trouba wants out. If Trouba is protected, there’s risk in not getting him reasonably re-signed the following year. If Trouba isn’t protected, he’ll get selected by LV. So it’s possible that the best and likely scenario, is that Trouba is traded before expansion this summer.

    If you’re an opposing GM and you’re watching WPG suffer through this scenario, there is no way you’re giving Chev fair value for Trouba because there’s a deadline in moving the asset. Other GM’s can wait it out with 0 risk.

    I’ll be watching this one closely because i think it could be very interesting come Trade deadline day or Entry Draft day.

    My primary interest stems from me being an Oiler’s fan, and Oilers need a RD. But i’m also a Jets fan as they are the only other Canadian team i can cheer for; i hate the others.

    • jetsfanmike

      After his 2 year bridge contract is up, Trouba remains an RFA, granted he’ll have arbitration rights.

      For what it’s worth, Chevy says Trouba’s no longer being actively shopped and Trouba says he’s rescinded his trade request.

      Even if this is b.s. and the Jets and Trouba both agree behind the scenes that a trade needs to happen, Trouba is a player that multiple teams around the NHL want.

      When there’s a number of interested parties, bidding always increases the price paid to acquire the player.

      Regarding the expansion draft, there’s a number of scenarios that could happen that makes it a non-issue in regards to Trouba:

      * The Jets could choose to protect 4 defensemen since they’re absolutely stacked at forward and can easily afford to lose one due to all their depth at those positions.

      * Myers could be traded.

      * Enstrom could be asked to waive his NMC in order to be traded to a contender like the Rangers with the Jets retaining salary to make the deal happen.

      Because the Jets see Trouba as a cornerstone foundation piece of the team’s young core, he won’t be moved for anything less than a massive return.

      Or, they’ll choose to keep him and other player or players will be moved out instead.

      • A-Mc

        “When there’s a number of interested parties, bidding always increases the price paid to acquire the player.”

        Oilers fans are all too familiar with the difference between fair value and market value. I’ll point your attention toward the Hall for Larsson trade. Fair value? no. Necessary to benefit the team? yes. 29 GMs knew this and this is why a top 10 LW fetched Larsson in return.

        You’re right, any number of other things could go down that might negate the necessity to trade Trouba. We never know what will happen but i am always skeptical that players can assume their position in a dressing room after having openly asked for a trade. Group culture can take a serious hit.

        Anyway i think we can both agree that this is something worth watching closely! Crap like this is what makes GMing a sports team worth paying attention to =D

        • jetsfanmike

          Your example about Hall is spot on.

          It illustrates the market value of young defensemen with high upside versus a $6M per season point producing young winger.

          Teams don’t trade 22 or 23 year old established NHL defensemen with high upside unless there’s a huge return coming back.

          Larsson wasn’t even considered a top tier talent yet, but the Oilers were willing to speculate that chances are that he could be, so they traded away a bonafide top line winger to get him.

          This just proves my point that young defensemen that could be a #1 or even #2 on a top pairing in the NHL are EXTREMELY valuable commodities and don’t get traded unless the return is massive.