Today’s Pilot’s Logbook takes a look at Jacob Trouba who has finally found a home on the top pairing for the Jets. After a bumpy past few seasons Trouba found some consistency playing with Josh Morrissey as his partner. With a tough finish to the season, Trouba is publicly saying all the right things with contract negotiations looming this summer.
#8 – DEFENCE
6’3″ / 202 lbs / Age: 24
Current Contract Status: RFA Arbitration Elligible
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PLAYER’S SEASON IN REVIEW
Jacob Trouba’s season could be characterized as boring. He didn’t lead the team in any categories, nor did he set any new career highs statistically. While most often this would be seen as negative, it was quite possibly the best thing for Trouba given his history.
Everyone is aware of the antics of two years ago when Trouba (or Kurt Overhardt) held out at the start of the season before signing a two year contract. This put Trouba in a negative light among many fans and tarnished his reputation. Whether it was playing the left side, or playing with Mark Stuart, Trouba was not enjoying playing hockey for the Jets. Once the two year deal was signed, it gave everybody some time to cool off and Trouba a chance to play again.
The best thing for Trouba was to get to work, join the squad, and try to stay out of the spotlight. In that sense, this past season was great because Trouba was still a fierce competitor who showcased his skills, but he was able to get back to playing hockey without worrying about everything happening off the ice. It seems as though Trouba has learned from that experience and is hoping for a smoother process this time around.
#NHLJets D Jacob Trouba said he hasn’t given a new contract much thought but said he would like to get a new deal done. “I’ve been down that road once. The quicker, the better.”
— Ken Wiebe (@WiebeSunSports) May 22, 2018
Even though Trouba has had better seasons statistically, this may have been his best year overall. He only scored three goals all season but that was due to a historically low shooting percentage of 2.1%. He was generating personal shots at a similar rate to the past couple seasons so there is no cause for concern as the goal totals will likely increase next season.
Trouba’s play on defence is where he really thrived this season. Trouba and Morrissey would frequently play against the other team’s best lines and they performed admirably. Trouba is strong in front of the net and he is able to box out other players with his size.
The pairing with Morrissey works well because even when Trouba is caught out of position, Morrissey is in the right spot to make the play. Both players are strong skaters and are able to transition the puck up the ice by passing or skating.
One of the most important parts of defending is being able to move the puck out of the defensive zone. This is especially important for Trouba because at even strength he had the highest defensive zone start percentage among all Jets defenders.
Trouba consistently made excellent plays in his own end to gather the puck and transition it out of the zone. Trouba does not commit many turnovers as he had the least amount of giveaways among the Jets right hand defencemen. This dependable play made Trouba valuable even when he wasn’t scoring points.
The one area of concern moving forward is his health. Trouba missed 20 straight games during the year with an ankle injury, and then got hurt two games later with a concussion. Unfortunately that meant Trouba had to miss his own bobblehead night as he was in the pressbox recovering. Trouba has yet to play a full 82 game season although he did play 81 games in 2015-2016.
— Val #NHLJets Parker (@ValParker7) March 20, 2018
While Trouba performed quite well during the regular season, his playoff performance was not impressive. Trouba finished the playoffs with two goals and only one assist while playing in every game. His minutes decreased as well as Byfuglien took centre stage as the number one defencemen during the playoff run.
Trouba didn’t necessarily play poorly in the playoffs but his play was definitely over-shadowed by Byfuglien and Myers who both finished with more goals and assists. If Trouba is going to take the next step in his career, he will have to perform better in the playoffs. He needs to be the one outshining his teammates because this year it was the other way around.
It’s no secret that Trouba and the Jets have had troubles in the past. The last contract negotiation was a disaster and both parties are hoping it goes smoother this time around. When looking at the market for Trouba, the price seems fairly straightforward.
When looking at comparables, the market price seems to be set around the $5-6 million mark. Torey Krug signed four years at $5.25, Morgan Rielly signed for 6 years at $5, Tyson Barrie signed for four years at $5.5, Seth Jones signed for 6 years at $5.4, and Hampus Lindholm signed for 6 years at $5.2. Lastly, Colton Parayko signed a similar deal last summer and had similar numbers to Trouba as well.
The more I fixate on Jacob Trouba's potential salary, the more I anchor myself to Colton Parayko's 5 x $5.5m deal signed prior to his arbitration hearing in the summer of 2017.
Very similar pts/g, TOI, role distribution over two seasons preceding contract.
— Murat (@WPGMurat) June 1, 2018
While most of these players are very similar to Trouba, he might get a slight raise because of two factors. First of all, the salary cap is expected to increase more than normal next season which will cause almost all prices to rise slightly. Secondly, Trouba is not too far from UFA territory. If the Jets want to sign Trouba long term, they will be delaying his opportunity for the open market which adds an extra premium to the deal.
With the history of Trouba some people might be wary of how the summer will play out. This time around there is little concern whether or not Trouba will be playing for the Jets next season as a deal will certainly be finalized. The only issue this year will be the how much money Cheveldayoff has to lay on the table to get the deal done.