Photo Credit: Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports
Though Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba has struggled offensively to start the 2015-16 campaign, his physical game has always been on point.
The young Jets defenseman often throws his weight around with reckless abandon, and packs a larger wallop than one would expect considering his stature. On Friday afternoon, Trouba threw a vicious shoulder check on Minnesota Wild forward Mikael Granlund.
There was no penalty assessed on the play, but considering the level and force of contact that Trouba made with Granlund’s head, it wouldn’t be a complete shock if this hit were escalated for further review by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.
Here’s the hit in question:
This hit is so close to being clean enough to eat off of, but doesn’t quite get there. 
The good news is that Trouba doesn’t leave his skates and his elbow is tucked. It does look to me, however, like Granlund’s head – rather than his shoulder – is the primary point of contact, and Granlund actually braced for the hit by straightening his posture prior to the hit.
So while the hit wasn’t called an illegal check to the head, I probably wouldn’t quibble with you if you wanted to describe it that way.
If I had to bet on whether or not Trouba’s hit – which is probably a rule 48 violation by the letter of the law – warrants a suspension, I’d probably place a lukewarm bet on the Jets defender avoiding further supplemental discipline for this hit. I wouldn’t feel very confident about a favourable outcome though.
We should note that Trouba doesn’t have any past disciplinary record to speak of, although he’s been involved in a few controversial incidents recently. The elbow Trouba threw at St. Louis Blues forward Troy Brouwer earlier this season stands out, as does the ‘stay-in-your-lane’ interference hit he levelled Vancouver Canucks forward Alex Burrows with towards the tail end of last season. 
Of course, a player’s status as a ‘repeat offender’ governs only to the amount of money they forfeit should they ultimately be suspended. That status doesn’t influence whether or not a suspension will be levied, though the NHL Department of Player Safety does reserve the right to consider a player’s past incidents when determining whether a particular play warrant supplemental discipline or not.
Granlund remained on the Wild bench following the hit, and has continued to log shifts in the second period of the contest.