The Jacob Trouba-Winnipeg Jets saga could very well be novelized. But considering his past, present and future situation with the team, there are still a lot of pages left unturned.
Trouba’s stalemate with the Jets took up the entirety of the summer and moulded into training camp. It even extended through the regular season, where he wouldn’t suit up for Winnipeg until the two sides eventually agreed on a two-year bridge deal.
He finally began the season on Nov. 11, where the Jets fell 3-2 to the Colorado Avalanche. Trouba was a minus-1 and looked a bit rusty (as evident not being in the lineup for months). He would go eight more games without posting a point until he finally showed flashes of his ability with two assists in a 3-0 win over Nashville on Nov. 27.
Trouba grew back into his role as a top-four, right-handed defenseman. The 6-foot-3, 203-pound blueliner knows how to move the puck and start the rush from the defensive zone, and is an asset when it comes to providing a complete, all-around game on the backend. He is not only reliable, but a big, physical defenceman who can make a difference at even strength and on both special teams units.
Trouba has points in three of his last five games and is proving to be an asset to the Jets as they play. He starts the breakout and makes quality passes, and is also an effective skater on the backend. Trouba is a shot-blocking machine, and also makes big hits and can win one-on-one battles. He’s a shutdown defenseman who could do a better job of hitting, but in the end, makes a difference on defence.
Offensively, he has a great point shot and is a force on the power-play. He is on pace for 25 assists and 28 points on the season, which is pretty good for a blueliner who didn’t participate in training camp or the first month of the 2016-17 campaign.
Even though he’s currently with the Jets and participating with the team, many are curious if he will remain in Winnipeg for sure, and if his future remains with the Jets. Because if it does, Winnipeg will have a strong, top-four defender for years to come.
When it comes to bridge deals, Trouba’s latest contract is way under his value. He was asking for big money, which Winnipeg was reluctant to consider, but he is all deserving of it. Considering he is a quality right-hand shot and shutdown defenseman, the 22-year-old will be one of the Jets’ top guys in the future; it’ll be like having another Dustin Byfuglien.
However, whether or not he remains with the Jets is a mystery, and given the history of players signing bridge deals to end contract stalemates, seeing Trouba in a Jets jersey for much longer seems less and less likely.
Just look at Kyle Turris, who signed a bridge deal with the Arizona Coyotes following contract gridlock that extended six weeks into the 2010-11 NHL season. He was still unhappy with the organisation and found himself shipped to the Ottawa Senators soon after returning to the lineup. Not shockingly, he is one of Kurt Overhardt’s clients, just as Trouba is.
The entire NHL knows of Trouba’s potential, even the Winnipeg Jets, who weren’t going to let him walk. However, many other blueliners got rewarded with long-term, high-salary deals, and Trouba will be expecting his cut sooner rather than later. And when the time comes, Winnipeg will either pay up, or let him go to another team. But if they go to the latter, they are letting go of a quality player who is not easy to replace by any means.