I’ve been told that it’s not crazy if you talk to yourself, or even if you answer yourself. I have been told though it is when you argue with yourself and unfortunately in the wake of the Jacob Trouba trade to New York for Neal Pionk and the 20th overall pick, I found myself Monday night debating the pros and cons of said trade.
Some are incredulous over the deal. Some actually support it. Before I fully commited either way, I had to talk things out and what followed was a Mick “three faces” Foley type conversation between the side of me that always likes being hopeful that these types of deals work out, the pessimistic side of me that has maybe spent way too much time on Twitter, and the neutral side that tries to be the voice of reason in the end…
Pessimistic Art: This is an awful trade. I refuse to believe Kevin Cheveldayoff made this deal. Are we sure Peter Chiarelli didn’t steal Chevy’s phone?
Hopeful Art: Ok, it’s not that bad. I live in Edmonton and know damn well Chevy isn’t even close to approaching Chiarelli levels of ineptness yet. I feel like this trade could work out for the Jets quite nicely.
Neutral Art: All I know about this trade is that my gut says maybe.
Pessimistic: Got the obligatory Futurama reference out of the way early. Wonderful.
Neutral: No really, all trades should be based on time and how these things play out and we can’t judge this deal yet. It’s human nature to make knee jerk reactions to these things, but this is one that will need to play out before we decide if this was a good or bad deal.
Hopeful: Exactly! Neal Pionk is 23 years old and will be going into his third year as an NHL’er – this coming season will be just his second full season. He was essentially a rookie last season and there is still some room left for improvement in his game.
Pessimistic: You both know that’s not how trades work. The team that gets the best player in the trade wins the deal and Jacob Trouba by far is that player. He’s the best player now and even if Pionk does improve – which I’ll fully admit could happen because my God he can’t get much worse at an NHL level – he still won’t be half the caliber of player Trouba is now or will be in the future.
Hopeful: See? You admit he should get better!
Pessimistic: I said could and again I’d like to point out that it’s only because he can’t get much worse. You saw the tweet from CJ Turtoro on how brutal Pionk was this season…
Neal Pionk has 1 breakup in 77 targets. He basically hands the opposing team the zone. https://t.co/8tECmEBHBM
— CJ Turtoro (@CJTDevil) January 14, 2019
Pionk stopping anyone more than twice in a season would literally be an improvement. It’s a bar so low that even Mark Stuart thinks it’s ridiculous.
Neutral: Aww, why did you have to bring Stu into this?
Hopeful: Again, he’s 23, it was his first full season and a bad Rangers team over-used a young player who really should be spending time in the AHL…
Pessimistic: You’re admitting the Jets traded for an AHL defenseman?
Hopeful: No, they traded for an NHL defensemen, but he averaged 21:10 ice time this past season. He was second on the Rangers in that stat and that’s asking for trouble. Not to mention he was mostly paired up with Marc Staal for most of the season and Staal is an anchor. If we’re going to bring up Mark Stuart…
Neutral: No really, leave Stuart alone. He’s suffered enough.
Hopeful: Then we could easily say that Marc Staal is to Neal Pionk what Mark Stuart was to a 22 year old Jacob Trouba.
Pessimistic: Only Trouba’s numbers were still decent even when paired with Stuart.
Hopeful: I tweeted out his 5v5 with or without you chart from hockeyviz.com and it shows at least a slight improvement from Pionk when he wasn’t paired with Staal.
This isn't exactly encouraging – a lot of players got better when they weren't with Pionk… But one thing worth noting… Pionk's numbers are a little bit better when he isn't with Staal… So…. Tiny bit of hope? pic.twitter.com/gInQw3Chwm
— Noted Funko Pop Collector (@GameTimeArt) June 18, 2019
Pessimistic: Ever so slightly better, he’s still on the really bad side of that chart with or without Staal.
Hopeful: Imagine how much better he’d be with Josh Morrissey.
Neutral: You’d seriously put him on the top pairing with Morrissey after freely admitting 20+ minutes a game was too much for him?
Hopeful: Morrissey and Pionk could be the second pairing behind Buff and Niku.
Pessimistic: Ha, as if Paul Maurice would ever give Sami Niku top pairing minutes. You really are hopeful aren’t you?
Neutral: He may have no choice.
Hopeful: Unless the Jets go and re-sign Tyler Myers.
Pessimistic & Neutral: HELL NO.
Hopeful: I was kidding…
Pessimistic: Even if we’re going to sit here and say that Pionk could turn out to be an ok middle pairing defenseman – and man that seems like such a stretch to think THAT will happen – the real point here is the Jets could have done so much better with a Jacob Trouba trade. Elliotte Friedman stated that he heard from other teams they had better offers.
Elliotte Friedman said on radio today before the Trouba trade that a lot of teams were in on Trouba and that the Jets were asking for a lot.
In a separate hit after the trade, he said multiple teams told him their package was better than what the Rangers gave up.
— James (@Account4hockey) June 18, 2019
Neutral: Of course other teams are going to say that.
Pessimistic: Other teams likely offered defensemen that did better than stopping just one of 77 zone entries against them. The point is, why did Chevy make this move now? We’re still four days away from the NHL Draft, he could have easily played the field a bit. Not only that, he refused to let teams talk to Trouba’s agent Kurt Overhardt to talk contract extensions. Why?! Of course the Rangers only offered a B-level prospect and a pick for Trouba. Any more with the risk of Trouba going straight to unrestricted free agency next summer would have been insane on their part, so why not let the Rangers talk to him and if they could have hammered out a long term deal, the Jets could have gotten more than just a pick and a prospect.
Neutral: That could have easily been a decision made by Overhardt through Chevy. We’re two weeks away from free agency opening up, last thing an agent needs is multiple GMs calling him about Trouba.
Pessimistic: Hello? That’s an agent’s job! And to that point, even if Trouba’s side didn’t want to hear from other GMs and thus Chevy was handcuffed by the expected return, why didn’t he ask for a conditional pick thrown in as is the case with most trades involving free agents now? Hell, even the Ottawa Senators had enough foresight seven months prior to include a clause to have an extra second round pick added if Erik Karlsson signed a multi-year deal with the Sharks which he did on Monday. That’s what makes this trade so awful. It’s not even about the player…
Hopeful: Or the first round pick? At least the Jets got that pick back. It’s a decent draft and the Jets could easily get a kid like Ryan Suzuki or Philip Broberg…
Neutral: I’m partial to Arthur Kaliyev.
Pessimistic: Of course I am. Sure, the 20th overall pick is fine, but whoever the Jets take at that spot is going to be a bit of a project, if they don’t outright botch it and draft another Logan Stanley type. But the bottom line to all of this is they could have done so much better with this trade. They could have played the bidding war a little more. They could have even waited until the trade deadline to move Trouba when theoretically he could have had more value.
Neutral: Theoretically the Jets could be a first place club come Trade Deadline 2020 and trading a player like Trouba would at that point be insane since there was never a time the Jets were going to get equal value back for Jacob and thus the Jets hold on to him as an Antrim Panarin-like rental and lose him for nothing the next summer.
Hopeful: Now that would have been a disastrous move… or non-move as it were. At least this way the Jets get something for him now and it’ll end up being a pair of good players.
Pessimistic: It could have been more.
Neutral: Pionk is kind of a fun name to say. PEE-ohnk. It’s like “plink”
Hopeful: I can’t wait until the first time a shot of his hits iron. I’ll tweet out something funny like “NEAL PIONK’S THE POST!”
Pessimistic: This is why people can’t stand me on Twitter.