Coming off a rocky contract negotiation that resulted in a trade request and missing the first 15 games of the regular season, Jacob Trouba rebounded to have the best season of his 4 season NHL career. With his bridge contract expiring at the end of next season, the conversation now moves to how much money he will command on his next contract, which he is eligible to sign on July 1. Let’s review the numbers and evaluate how much would make sense for the Jets to pay him, and how much he deserves in a new deal.
|Stat||2016/17||Career (4 seasons)|
Trouba had a career season in 2016/17, showing that his sub par 2015/16 season was more of a blip rather than the norm. He set career highs in points, assists, and time on ice, and by the end of the season, he was the Jets #1 defenseman on the right side, pairing with Josh Morrissey and facing the top opposition lines on a nightly basis.
We will look at two of Trouba’s contemporaries from the 2012 NHL draft that are top pair defensemen for their teams. They are Hampus Lindholm of the Anaheim Ducks, and Morgan Rielly of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Both of these players were drafted in the run of defensemen at the start of the 2012 NHL Draft (8 of the first 10 players selected were defensemen), and both signed long-term extensions that started last season when they came out of their entry level contracts. We will also look at two contemporaries from the 2013 NHL draft that are similarly top pair defensemen. They are Seth Jones of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Rasmus Ristolainen of the Buffalo Sabres.
As seen above, the offensive numbers for all 5 of these defensemen are quite similar, and they become even closer when looking on a per 60 minute basis. While Rielly and Ristolainen have poor shot percentage metrics (Corsi% and Fenwick%), it’s important to remember that they played for two of the worst teams in shot suppression over the 4 year period. From 2013-14 to 2016-17, the Sabres were the worst team in the league in SA/G (33.7) and Fenwick% (44.14%). In the same time frame, the Maple Leafs were 2nd worst in SA/G (33.1) and 4th worst in Fenwick% (47.02%).
|Age at Signing||23||22||22||21||21|
|Total Cap Hit||?||$30,000,000||$31,500,000||$32,400,000||$32,400,000|
The market for young defensemen from the 2012 and 2013 drafts has been well set over the last year and a half. All 4 of the defensemen compared here had their teams buy 3 UFA years in their second contract. Because Trouba will be signing his 3rd NHL contract to start the 2018/19 season, the Jets would have to buy 5 UFA years to get the same term length as the other contracts here.
With Toby Enstrom and Mark Stuart coming of the books at the end of the next season, that will free up $8,125,000 in cap space to use towards an extension. It would be ideal to lock Trouba up for the max 8 year term, but he cannot cost more than Mark Scheifele’s $6,125,000 AAV that was signed last season. Based on the contracts above, and the premium that will need to be paid to buy 5 UFA years, I would be prepared to sign an extension this summer for 8 years at an AAV of $6,000,000. What do you think? Would you wait another year to negotiate an extension, risking having his value skyrocket if he has another great season in 2017/18? Would you bridge him one more time, taking him to UFA status at age 27?
Cap numbers from nhlnumbers.com and capfriendly.com. Stats from nhl.com, and puckalytics.com