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Photo Credit: © Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Long Term Implications of Trouba Deal

This is part two about the various impacts of Trouba’s arbitration process. While part one focused on the short term implications of the deal, part two will focus on the lasting impact this deal could have in the future.

Immediate Impact of Trouba’s Deal

Implications for a trade

While the idea of trading Trouba was briefly discussed last article, there are a few other points worth mentioning. If Trouba is going to be traded it will most likely happen after the 2018-19 season. The Jets most likely believe they have a chance at signing Trouba long term, similarly to the plan they had this summer.

For that reason, there is no purpose to trading Trouba in the upcoming year as he still has an opportunity to sign a long term deal next summer. Another factor to consider is that the Jets will be a contender next season again. It doesn’t make sense to trade Trouba while trying to contend for a championship because Trouba is one of the Jets best defensemen.

Having Trouba on the roster for the entire 2018-2019 season greatly increases the skill on the blueline and would certainly have a greater impact than whatever was brought in via trade. That being said, the return for Trouba will significantly decrease after the 2018-19 season so maybe a trade should be considered sooner rather than later.

If Trouba elects arbitration again next summer then the Jets will have no choice but to trade him. Trouba is on track to become a UFA in two years and there is no chance he’s re-signing in Winnipeg given his history with the club. This means if Trouba is going to be dealt, it will happen before the 2020 trade deadline. If the Jets wait until that point to trade Trouba though, the return will be lower than ever before.

If a team is able to sign Trouba for free within a few months, why would they give up assets to trade for him? The other problem is that teams will be wary of trading for Trouba because his contract is only one year long. If a team gives up assets to acquire Trouba, they might be the one’s to lose him for nothing in the 2020 off-season when his contract is up for renewal. This situation is similar to Erik Karlsson as any team looking to trade for Karlsson needs to make sure he is interested in signing an extension as well.

If Trouba is only interested in signing with two or three teams then they could offer very little because Cheveldayoff would be forced to make a move with one of them. The future is definitely uncertain for Trouba as he could be traded at anytime. However, the clock will really start ticking if he elects arbitration again next summer.

 

Implications for the team

Although Trouba is signed for at least one more season,  the future of the Jets defense is murkier than ever before.

One of the main reasons for this uncertainty is that Trouba cannot sign a contract extension until January 1st, 2019. This means the future is up in the air for majority of the season. With Myers and Trouba both on expiring contracts, the Jets defense might look very different in short order.

Factor in that Dustin Byfuglien is 33 years old with only three years left on his deal and the Jets might lose all of their right hand defensemen (RHD) by 2021. For a team that has boasted arguably the best RHD depth in the NHL, the extreme turnover could spell disaster as they try to consistently contend for a championship.

Player turnover is inevitable at the NHL level, but usually succession plans work quite well to transition the team from one era to the next. The key piece among the forward group is Scheifele as he can relate to the young players but still command respect as a veteran. Scheifele will be able to usher in a new era once the old Jets start to slow down and retire. On defense, Trouba was the perfect candidate to take the reins from Byfuglien and help transition towards the younger generation.

Obviously Trouba won’t be able to do this if he leaves so it suddenly puts more responsibility on some of the other defensemen, specifically Morrissey. Morrissey will be expected to take on much more responsibility and could be the new face of the Jets defense moving forward. This responsibility makes it even more important to sign Morrissey to a long term deal. If Trouba had signed long term it would have been likely that Morrissey was signed to a two or three year deal. The situation has changed now and Morrissey should be signed for an extended contract to ensure at least one player is locked up for a number of years.

While there are certainly moving pieces for the Jets defense, the right side might have the largest transition in the next few years. Between Byfuglien getting older and Myers and Trouba both on expiring contracts, the most enviable part of the Jets roster might look very different three years down the road.

 

Implications for the future salary cap

There are many ‘what ifs’ in this article, but that is what needs to happen when projecting things so far in the future. If Trouba really wants to stay in Winnipeg and only went through arbitration so he could get a larger extension next summer, it could cause the Jets budget to explode in 2019.

The cap crunch was going to happen regardless of what Trouba signed for this summer. With Wheeler, Laine, Connor and Myers all needing new deals, Cheveldayoff has his work cut out for him. Add in an even more expensive Trouba and it might not be possible to fit everyone under the cap.

Even if Trouba signs a long term deal next summer around $6.5 million compared to the estimate of $6 million this year, that’s 500k that could have been used to sign someone else. With the team projected to be so close to the cap, every dollar is magnified.

Five hundred thousand might not seem like a lot in regards to the entire salary cap, but with teams operating so close to the upper limit it’s this type of deal that might cause the Jets to trade away someone else’s contract. All of the talk has been about trading Trouba if he’s going to be signing elsewhere as UFA anyways, but the talk could also include trading somebody different to open up more space if Trouba is willing to return.

The implications of Trouba’s arbitration ruling are widespread. Not only does it affect Trouba himself, but it has far-reaching implications on the salary cap, trade offers, and the roster building. With such a wide range of areas being affected, people will be looking back at this deal for years as the contract that altered the Jets future.