Looking back on our End of Season survey, a large portion of you found it pertinent to get back into the first round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. For those of you who don’t want to trade back into the first round, I urge you to take a look at the top 20 or so prospects. It is consensus among scouts that this is one of the most talent laden drafts in recent history, which makes having a 1st round pick an essentiality.
In a salary cap league, it is mandatory to take advantage of Entry Level Contracts. Unfortunately, the Jets have missed that window with a few of their budding superstars. which leaves them in a precarious situation. when it comes to the pool of RFA’s they have to re-sign this off-season. Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, and Jacob Trouba are due for significant pay increases, which will limit what the Jets can do in the free agent market. If Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and the management team can find a trade partner to leverage the RFA negotiating rights, they could get a decent return and cap flexibility to go into the free agent pool.
Finding a partner may be tough. An acquiring team would have to have either A) a deep prospect pool and cap space or B) multiple 1st round picks, and that would go along with the need for what the Jets could offer. So over a handful of posts, I am going to take a look at possible trade candidates and speculate partners that line up with those candidates. I welcome your feedback and who you think would be a good trade partner for these players in the comments below.
RHD – Jacob Trouba
For the second summer in a row, the Jets and Trouba will enter into a tumultuous negotiations. A 50 point defenseman that eats up over 24 minutes a night in ice time is not easily replaceable, but it becoming evident that the two sides are destined for a divorce. In a league that continues to put a high premium on top pairing, puck moving defenseman, Trouba could be looking at a $7.5M AAV salary on a long term extension. A price tag like that would most likely force the Jets to lose either Laine or Connor, if they chose to keep Trouba.
The question then becomes, who would be a suitable trade partner for Trouba? There are only a few teams that have multiple first round picks. The Colorado Avalanche (picks 4 and 16), New York Rangers (2 and 20), and the Los Angeles Kings (5 and 22), so let’s look at them as potential trade partners.
Of those three, I think the least likely partner is the Kings. They are already in a cap crunch and have a quality top pairing right handed D-man in Drew Doughty. I don’t think the Rangers would give up the 2nd pick, but the 20th could be an option, and with Cheveldayoff and Rangers GM Jeff Gorton having done a deadline deal a couple of months ago, they already have a repertoire established. The Avalanche are in a much more precarious situation. They are an established playoff team with the 4th overall pick. I feel as though both of their first rounders could be attainable, for the right price. The issue here becomes, what is the cost of trading within your own division?
Of those three teams, I believe the Avalanche are in the best position to make a deal, but lack the need for a right handed defenseman. New York is in a bit of a rebuild and a guy like Trouba could certainly go a long way towards kick-starting it. The Kings find themselves in a bit of a cap conundrum and would likely not be able to pay Trouba.
So let me hear your thoughts below on what a reasonable trade for (or involving) Jacob Trouba would look like with the goal to get the Jets a pick in the first round. It does not need to be limited to the three teams listed above, if you feel other teams in the first round would benefit.