The Winnipeg Jets and Jacob Trouba have their deal, but it’s not the best situation for both sides going forward as they were unable to come to an agreement on a long term deal and thus an independent judge has awarded the 24 year old defenseman a 1 year contract worth $5.5 million this up coming season.
The Jets have 48 hours now to either accept the deal or walk away from it and allow him to become an Unrestricted Free Agent which is a very unlikely situation. What is likely though is we’re in for more consternation over the state of Jacob Trouba’s future with the Jets.
Trouba has just finished his fifth season with the Jets, appearing in 55 games as he dealt with an ankle injury and then concussion issues. He had three goals and 24 points which was a slight dip in his offensive production, but on the defensive side of things, his possession metrics improved a bit as he arguably had his best season as an all-around defenseman.
Going into the arbitration hearing, both sides were quite a ways apart, although the gap could have just as much been about both sides setting their respective high and low points as it could have been an indication of how either side felt.
Arbitration filings for Jacob Trouba: Jets are at $4M, player at $7M. Hearing is 48 hours away. SJ and Chris Tierney settle on two-year deal with $2.9375 AAV.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 18, 2018
In the end, a $5.5 million dollar awarding seems like a fair split down the middle, but it does lean towards being more friendly for the Jets and their Salary Cap management. Days earlier, Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild – a player with numbers and metrics very similar to Trouba – signed a five year deal for $30 million which carries a $6 million AAV. Dumba’s offensive numbers are a touch better, but again on the defensive side of things it’s easy to argue that Trouba may be a bit better of a player than Dumba.
The Saga Of Trouba Will Continue
That the Jets and Trouba were not able to come to an agreement on their own before the arbitration hearing and ruling was just one more chapter in the growing and at times complicated relationship that the player and club have had.
Two years ago, the two sides had a very contentious negotiation where Trouba as a 22 year old held out and through his agent had demanded a trade that may have been just as much about usage on the blue line – Trouba, a right handed shot preferred to play on the right side as opposed to the left side he had played the previous couple of seasons – as it was money. The two sides eventually came together on a two year deal with six million plus bonuses.
Two years later and along with Josh Morrissey, Trouba started to stake his claim as part of the Jets top defensive pairing and expressed a desire at the end of the season to sign a long term deal with the Jets, much like many of his teammates have been about to do over the last two seasons.
It’s tough to say what the fallout from this latest contract dispute will result in. Arbitration hearings have typically been known to be a nasty piece of business between both club and player as both sides argue against each other. Especially concerning is the length of time the hearing took which was compared to a marathon.
I’m told Jacob Trouba’s arbitration hearing yesterday was a marathon affair. Began at 9 am eastern time and didn’t end until 2:30 pm. There were breaks, but that’s a long one. Decision released by Sunday afternoon at latest if deal not struck between player and club by then. #wfp
— Mike McIntyre (@mikemcintyrewpg) July 21, 2018
The one year ruling also means that when Trouba’s contract expires next season, he is yet again a restricted free agent, but this time with even more on the line. Trouba will be an Unrestricted Free Agent after the 2019-20 season and a second round of arbitration next summer could prove to push Jacob out of Winnipeg for good even though he has stated that he’s very interested in a long term deal.
(Thank you to The Athletic’s Murat Ates for the clarification over Twitter… The NHL CBA be complicated yo!)
We’ve already had plenty of Trouba trade speculation over the last two seasons, today’s one year ruling will do nothing to quell those talks.
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