It’s Jacob Trouba’s time to shine.

It’s been three weeks since Jacob Trouba elected to sign a two-year deal with the Winnipeg Jets and end his  one month and a half long contract stalemate. Word coming out of Trouba’s camp was that the 15 game holdout was based off what he thought was a lack of opportunity in Winnipeg. Trouba believed that if he signed with Winnipeg he wouldn’t have enough opportunity and ice-time to evolve in to a top right handed defender. After weeks of waiting and with very limited options at his disposal, Trouba caved and signed a bridge deal with the Jets.

In having such a trade-friendly low cap-hit of 3 million dollars, many people ( including myself) thought we’d see Trouba get traded within days of signing the deal.  It was thought that a low cap hit like that would likely open up more potential suitors for Trouba and intensify negotiations, but that is yet to pan out. Trouba remains a Jet for the time being and from a hockey perspective, he shouldn’t be complaining. 

With Toby Enstrom on a leave of absence back in Sweden and Tyler Myers still injured, Trouba’s role is going to be amplified, just like he wanted it to be all along.

Trouba’s best game of the season to date came yesterday afternoon against the Nashville Predators. Trouba finished the game with two assists and an all-around excellent showing in what was one of the best games he’s had in his four-year NHL career. One of the many bright spots through the course of the game was the bone crushing body check Trouba delivered on Mike Ribeiro in the 3rd period of the game.

Trouba looked very confident carrying the puck and he did an excellent job keeping the play alive in the offensive zone. The 22 year-old defenseman was paired with Josh Morrissey and the two looked good enough to warrant another shot to suit up alongside each other. 

Overall in that game against Nashville, Trouba looked like the top pairing defender he had claimed he was all along.  Actions speak louder than words and Trouba made a step in the right direction to put his money where his mouth is while logging 26:12 minutes of ice-time and looking like a dominant player. That’s right I said it, dominant.

Trouba’s performance against Nashville couldn’t have came at a better time. With two 20+ minute munchers in Toby Enstrom and Tyler Myers out of the lineup, the Jets need Trouba to step up. It’s likely the Jets will be without at least one of Enstrom or Myers and possibly both for the next little while. In the meantime, Winnipeg will need Trouba to build off his performance in Nashville and emerge in to a top-pairing defender not just for the Jets, but for his own sake.

If Trouba still wants out of Winnipeg, he’s going to have to raise his stock on the trade market.

I can’t really see a Trouba trade materializing in the middle of the season. The Jets are likely going to be in the fight for a playoff spot for most of the year and they aren’t going to ship off Trouba while fighting for a postseason spot. It’s a double edged sword. If Trouba plays well the Jets have a top pairing defenseman in their possession for the next two years. Kevin Cheveldayoff can either trade him or he can keep him for the next two years. In Trouba’s case he either plays well and pads his resume for his next pay day, or he fumbles the opportunity and doesn’t get a hefty raise when he’s a RFA once again. 

Trouba thinks he can be a top-end defender and he’s being served the opportunity to show that on a silver platter, it’s time for him to live up to expectations. If he continues playing the way he has, he’ll surely leap frog players like Toby Enstrom and Tyler Myers in ice-time. He might even see some time on the top pair with Dustin Byfuglien, where he was supposed to start out the year all along.