After what felt like years worth of trade speculations and contract drama, it was announced earlier this evening that Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba was headed for New York City, traded to the Rangers in exchange for defenseman Neal Pionk, and a first round draft pick at the 2019 NHL Draft.
Neal Pionk is yet another Minnesota native to join the team, and started out his NHL career with the Rangers as a free agent, signing in 2017 and debuting February 9th 2018. This past season was his first full season in the NHL with 73 games played, earning himself 26 points (6 goals, 20 assists).
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) June 17, 2019
As for the pick, Jets fans will remember should remember it fondly as it was Winnipeg’s to begin with. The pick was initially given to New York in an exchange at the trade deadline this past February that saw Kevin Hayes join the team (and the departure of Brendan Lemieux). And in a draft year that seems to heat up with each passing day, Winnipeg could be looking at a number of interesting prospects with number 20. Once the dust settles around the top ten, they could potentially be looking guys like Ryan Suzuki, Cam York, Alex Newhook or Philip Tomasino.
While the pickup of Neal Pionk and the first round pick certainly won’t do anything for the Jets in the short term and probably feels not so great in the here and now, this is a decent enough trade for the organization. Primarily because they won’t need to worry about a pricey Jacob Trouba contract in the short term, and there are a lot of upsides in the long term with a young defenseman like Pionk and a top 20 pick in a really solid draft year.