Sep
27

Can the Rangers land Jacob Trouba?

September 27, 2016, by
december-31-2013-jets-sabres-02

Photo: Shawn Coates/AP

The big news that broke this past weekend was that Winnipeg Jets’ stud defenseman Jacob Trouba has requested a trade. Trouba, the ninth overall pick in 2012, is in the middle of a contract dispute with the Jets. The dispute is over more than money though, as Trouba has stated that he is buried on the depth chart behind Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers, both right-handed defensemen signed to long-term deals.

The 22-year-old defenseman has put up impressive numbers in his first three seasons, with his career highs coming in his rookie year (10-19-29). That may not seem like much, but remember that Trouba gets third pairing and minimal powerplay time. That is not a product of who he is as a player, but a product of commitments by the organization elsewhere, whether right or wrong (we will get to that).

Trouba, while not a proven first pairing player, has all the makings to be one, per Travis Yost. Yost is one of the best hockey minds out there, so his post is a must-read. To summarize, Trouba excels offensively. His counting stats (raw point totals) are lacking, but that likely has to do with ice time. But it’s his rate stats that are impressive.

Offensively, Trouba’s numbers put him in the same sentence as Kevin Shattenkirk, Justin Faulk, Matt Niskanen, Keith Yandle, Ryan Suter, Shea Weber, and Dougie Hamilton. That’s some impressive company. He’s a little less impressive on the defensive side of things (limiting shot attempts/goals against), so he’s not at your elite level defenseman. Even if less impressive –please note that less impressive doesn’t mean bad, it just means not as good as he is offensively–  he’s still got the tools to be a top pairing guy for many years to come.

It’s perfectly ok for a good player to want more ice time to show he can handle the load and be someone the team can count on. However with two players ahead of him, of which only one really should be, he’s stuck. Here’s how he compares to Myers:

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Myers has the better overall production numbers, but the bottom half –the shot generation numbers– suggest that he is more of a passenger that is benefiting from better teammates. Trouba blows him out of the water when it comes to generating shot attempts. In theory, if you put Trouba in Myers’ role, he will thrive. Of course, that is in theory, but the underlying numbers and pedigree make it a very calculated risk for any team that acquires him.

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is looking for a high-end one-for-one swap. Makes sense, as the last players to hit the market like this were Ryan Johansen and Seth Jones, and they were traded for each other.

The Jets have a clear need on the left side of their blue line, an area where the Rangers have two players that would be of immediate help. They also could use some scoring depth. Interestingly enough, the Rangers may actually have the tools to pull of a trade.

Scenario 1: Ryan McDonagh for Trouba, straight up

Put down your pitchforks. This is just a hypothetical, and one that likely won’t happen. But it had to be mentioned, as that’s likely where a conversation begins. So for fun, let’s evaluate it.

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McDonagh produces more on a regular basis. That much is clear. However Trouba is the better player when it comes to generating shot attempts. However, McDonagh’s numbers may be are negatively impacted because he plays the majority of his time with Dan Girardi. Not going to beat the dead horse though.

If the Rangers were a team in the need of a complete rebuild and weren’t in the contention conversation, this is something I would entertain. But they are competing. Moving on.

Scenario 2: A package involving one or both of Brady Skjei and J.T. Miller (or Kevin Hayes over Miller, either one)

I posed the question on Twitter the other night, and here are the results:

This is a lot to give up for Trouba. In a non-McDonagh trade, it’s probably where Chevy starts the conversation. That doesn’t mean it is what Trouba will cost, but it gets the ball rolling. Miller is the proven prize here, as 22-year-old 20-goal/40-point kids aren’t exactly a dime a dozen. The Rangers have the forward depth to manage trading Miller though. Skjei is a relative unknown right now, but as a former first round pick himself, let’s assume he’d be at worst a middle-pair defender.

I feel this is where the Rangers and Jets make a good match if the Jets don’t get the high profile one-for-one trade. Any deal involving a young Rangers forward plus a second piece progresses the conversation.

However the problem here lies with the biggest hold on the Winnipeg roster. It’s not a forward, it’s a left handed defenseman, and a potential top pairing one at that. Skjei may fit that bill, but he doesn’t have three years of experience under his belt like Trouba. We simply don’t know what he is.

Marc Staal won’t get it done either. Not even close.

Scenario 3: A conglomeration of prospects that haven’t played in the NHL and aren’t named Buchnevich, Vesey, or Skjei

Yea this isn’t happening. Need to give to get in this league.

All in all, a deal involving Miller (or Hayes) is likely the starting point for Trouba, but it will take more to get the deal done. The Jets and Rangers make intriguing trade partners though.

"Can the Rangers land Jacob Trouba?", 2 out of 5 based on 8 ratings.

48 comments

  1. Matt S says:

    I would love to see Trouba in blue, but the biggest things holding this back are cap space and the expansion draft. It sounds like he will cost over $5 mil on his next deal which the Rangers would need to find a way to clear out. The other issue is that with the current roster, the Rangers would end up losing Trouba in the expansion draft due to being forced to protect McD G and Staal. Trading McD would solve both those problems, but I wouldn’t make that trade. G or Staal would need to be moved somehow for this to work, so I’m not going to hold my breath on this.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      If I were management, and I were to be able to land Trouba in an organizationally advantageous manner (below market value) then I would do it, knowing I could not protect Girardi, Staal,(both forced due to NMCs) McDonagh and Trouba in the expansion draft.

      If a Trouba trade were to occur which didn’t involve any of the previously mentioned defensemen, and no subsequent trades could be structured after, then the move would be to buy Girardi or Staal out after the season/ before the expansion draft- ideally Girardi, as his cap situation would hurt less IIRC.

      Granted a couple of those dead cap years would be painful and we would have to look at the Ranger’s cap situation on paper very closely. For instance, could they manage the cap with added salaries for Trouba, Zibanejad (who is up for a raise this summer), etc ,etc AND the dead cap space from Girardi’s buyout? Who knows. Perhaps shedding Rick Nash would allow us to do so either via trade or expansion. Something I don’t have the time for now, but Trouba is probably a player I would look to fit by shuffling what I can control.

      Great points above. This is my long-winded attempt to talk them out.

      • Matt S says:

        Good points. I haven’t heard much discussion about if buyouts are allowed before the expansion draft. I’m assuming they will be, given that the buyouts typically start June 15 and the list of protected/exposed players is due June 17.

        I’m typically against buyouts of players with several years left on there contracts, but in this case it could make sense. I think a lot of it comes down to what type of contract Trouba would be willing to sign. If he is willing to sign a fairly team friendly deal for a chance to be a #1 rd, then the dead cap hit from a buyout could be manageable. If he wants top dollar, then his cap hit + the dead cap hit + what you would need to give up in a trade may be too much for a good, but not elite (at least not yet) dman.

        There’s still the issue of fitting in his cap hit this year, but throwing someone like Klien into a deal could make it work.

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          Yup, agree and agree. I am definitely not one for buyouts either. For Trouba to fit, I’d consider one. Will be interesting to see how his situation plays out in Manitoba.

        • ken says:

          in this case a buyout makes little to no sense! why would you take a cap hit on a guy thru the 2024 season when you very well might be able to trade him at the deadline? Girardi’s full no move goes to a limted no move after this season making him alot easier to trade! Staal’s does the same after the 17-18 season! Skjei has the ability to be every bit as good as Trouba at alot cheaper price! no way in hell am I trading him or Miller for that matter!

    • Reenavipul says:

      To fit Trouba under the cap, you bury the likes of Gerbe & Jooris in Hartford and do one of two thing: trade Klein or buyout Girardi. Both will clear space, but the buyout gets the team a protection slot back for expansion. It’s food for thought.

      But just do an offer sheet after the season starts. WPG will have 7 days to match, but a $6.925mm signing bonus will be too much of a poison pill for them to handle. I’ve seen that the Jets have a multi-billionaire minority partner, but that is irrelevant. The majority owners are in real estate and have liquidated a lot of secondary assets; the Jets and nearby developments are their baby. Given the scope of the developments, I’m assuming they’re leveraged out 7-8x.

      If True North LLC(a team on an internal budget below the cap) doesn’t have the free cash to cover that signing bonus, they have to have a capital call, where all partners would have to come up with the $ proportionally. So the levered majority has to provide more than the moneybags minority, otherwise they would get diluted by about 2% if Thomson provided all the money. I don’t know what the percentage distribution is, but control can change hands on amounts like that. Thomson can’t “loan” money at non-market rates.

      So if you’re majority partner who’s got a bunch of spinning plates, do you have the money on your end free(doubt it)? Do you want to be stuck with a distressed asset(that you can’t move for a year) who now put your team close to the cap, yet hasn’t changed your team for the better(doubt it, unless you like setting money on fire)? Do you want to spend that kind of money on a guy who wants out and is 3rd pair(doubt it)? Do you want to dilute your ownership stake for that(doubt it)? Or do you want cheaper equivalent left D and let it be someone else’s problem?(I’m guessing yes)

      I offer Skjei straight up on Wednesday, October 5th, give them 24 hours, then go offer sheet. A late 1st and 3rd is less value than Skjei anyway.

  2. Benjamin Bousa says:

    What about a trade like Trouba for a first round pick, a third round pick, Miller or Skjei, Morrison, Hellberg, and Gropp??

    Also would not be opposed to trading a guy like Zucc for Trouba either, but if a guy like Zucc goes, you can’t subtract anything else from your NHL roster.

    • Dave says:

      Morrison and Hellberg are relatively worthless from a trading perspective, so that’s the quantity =/= quality discussion.

      So you’d be looking at Miller or Skjei, Gropp, a 1st, and a 3rd for Trouba (I’m assuming it’s Trouba+). Depends on what the “+” is here.

  3. Sammy car says:

    I would hope the Rangers would not trade Mac for him because we’re trying to add to our defense not just change one for another.I wouldn’t be so quick to trade Skjei away either

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      Those are my thoughts. The blue line needs all the young, top 4 calibers players it can get right now. Trading McDonagh or Skjei is robbing Peter to pay Paul.

      I am, however, all for trading one or more of the Rangers young forwards for Trouba. The Rangers need to trade from an area of strength (forward depth) not weakness (defense).

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        As for the cap issue, handshake agreement for a one year bridge deal leading to a long term deal in 2017. Cap space will be more readily available in the next off-season.

        • Reenavipul says:

          1yr handshake deal gets Trouba arbitration eligible. If he is what we think he is, he’a looking at more like Yandle money.

          • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

            Long haul, yes, but this is more of a hypothetical one year deal until he gets paid next year.

            It’s most likely a moot point because the Rangers should be able to get him under the cap this year depending on who they trade.

            • Reenavipul says:

              You don’t Offer sheet unless you lock in cost certainty. You don’t trade for a 1yr deal on the assets they’re asking for.

  4. Andy says:

    I would really like to have him. How about Skeji/ Girardi and we retain say $2 to $2.5 mill of G’s salary and the 2nd we got for Ottawa in the Zibanejab trade? Maybe a prospect(not Buch or Vesey) also to get them to take on Girardi. Giradi would be a good enough 3rd pair R Dman. and the cost control of Skeji would balance out the still overpaying for Girardi.
    Unfortunately unless you move out either Girardi or Staal(and all or a big part of their contracts) there is not much chance you can get Troumba signed because we don’t have the cap space to take on a $5 mill cap hit if that is what it takes to get him signed….so getting rid of one of these Staal or Girardi is a must.

    • Mike says:

      I highly doubt that an aging third pairing D man and a relatively unproven late first round D + 2nd rounder is not going to make winnipeg evenly remotely interested.

  5. SalMerc says:

    I just do not see a move that strengthens the defense that does not handcuff the team at the expansion draft or puts our head against the Cap. Gorton may see one, but he is smarter than me.

  6. amy says:

    I don’t see a deal to get Trouba unless a piece that is not needed goes

  7. Pas44 says:

    maybe the moves for stall and giradi weren’t meaty enough, but perhaps they are more acceptable now due to the upside of losing that deal only to make this one?

    fingers crossed over here!

    or maybe theres a 400LB person hacking into gordans computer while there are at home ion bed?

    did you ever think of that!

  8. wwpd says:

    Guys and gals unrelated but just want to say thanks for a great summer of coverage and commentary scratching that itch during the long offseason. Ready for some New York Rangers hockey!

  9. Leatherneck says:

    I would offer sheet him over any trade. Yet again a player from a Canadian team gets overhyped for a haul. This to me is a form of collusion between the Hockey media and the Canadian teams. Yet every year from our own fans to the media, our own players get devalued.

    Reality is circumstances on the Rangers behalf makes Trouba coming to New York very complicated. There have to be other events happening simultaneously for this to happen.

    My biggest concern is our coach. I don’t like him. I don’t like his style and how he throws players he does not favor under the bus, like Miller and McIlrath as examples. We have yet to drop the puck and he has already set up McIlrath to fail. Then there is his yaddie yada yada on Miller.

    Girardi will be traded but probably not until the year is over. I strongly feel he will head to Las Vegas for a 4th rounder. Las Vegas will take the full contract. In Girardi they get a very capable player to lead the team as a Captain. In city like Las Vegas a good solid citizen will go a long way to reign in the kids in a city like Las Vegas. The real value of Girardi is more about his leadership than his on ice contributions.

    The focus of a defenseman to be traded should be Staal who will fetch us more. The other focus should be to keep developing Mcilrath as a capable defenseman which he is. In the case of Trouba the problem he faces is the nonsense of 1-6 defenseman rating. Defenseman should be rated for fit. If you have a Reijo then you need a Barry, If you have a Brian you need a Jeff. We need to go back to that over this bs stat driven analysis of where a player should be rated. I say again, this defense has to be a collective not a rated pairing

    • Reenavipul says:

      Trouba one of the few D men where you can break out his minutes against his various pairs. Long story short, he’s 1st pair production away from Mark Stuart.

      If you offer sheet Stuart and bury Girardi after dealing Klein to get him to waive his NTC(and eat half of this year’s contract) you have:

      McD. Trouba
      Skjei Clendening
      Staal McIlrath
      Graves Holden

      Or something like that.

      Girardi after this year carries a high-ish cap hit at a lower actual salary, attractive to cap floor teams.

      The worst thing that happens in an offer sheet is Winnipeg matches.

      • Chris A says:

        Where are you burying Girardi? He has a NTC/NMC.

        I appreciate how creative you are getting in trying to make Trouba work for the Rangers, but it’s impossible.

        Players of Trouba’s ilk are almost never available to the Rangers. Those players are reserved strictly for tanking teams. There is no combination of legal roster moves that gets the Rangers Trouba at a non cap crushing contract that doesn’t make the Rangers a worse team.

        This is why the Mika trade was so important for the Rangers’ future. They acquired a #6 overall draft pick that has no warts, simply because Ottawa was being cheap in the short term (they gave the Rangers a 2nd round pick for paying Brass’ $2M July 1 roster bonus) and cheap in the long term, they were wary of Mika’s next contract exceeding Brass’ current $5M annual salary. Of course, Brassard was also a #6 overall pick, but the Rangers were able to get him because, at the time his shoulder was mangled, and there was a good chance Brassard was going to be a NHL washout.

        Now, I know Trouba and Mika’s situations sound similar, but the big difference is that Trouba has zero leverage. The only play Trouba has is sitting out this year. Sitting out gets him no closer to arbitration (this year won’t count) and it robs him of a year of development. WPG could care less if he sits out since they aren’t going anywhere this year anyway. It would simply net them another high draft pick.

        • Reenavipul says:

          7th D for Girardi, only plays 2nd game in B2B. The team has cover.

          I don’t care about Trouba’s leverage beyond how it helps the Rangers. He can go play in Europe and it doesn’t get him any closer to arbitration.

          Right now the only teams that can handle Trouba is AZ, NJ, EDM and the Rangers. 1st three teams can’t do the signing bonus to shake WPG loose via offer sheet, EDM Doesn’t have prospects to make trade to make WPG happy. So the Rangers are only bidding against themselves.

          Why give up anything more than you need to than a 1st & 3rd when you don’t have to? Rangers will be good without him. Why get into a bidding war when you can just drop the bomb? $5.2AAV for 5 years is value for money.

          Plenty of roster moves to clear space, everybody but Holden & Pirri can go down with zero cap hit. You can move Klein for a 2nd and clear out $5.2mm AAV.

          I’m sure I could be missing something, but no one has brought it up beyond other teams poaching our class 2 RFAs. But what other teams can draw up a contract that we can’t match or would want to match?

      • Reenavipul says:

        Offer sheet Trouba, not Stuart. Uggh

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      “Yet again a player from a Canadian team gets overhyped for a haul. This to me is a form of collusion between the Hockey media and the Canadian teams.”

      Would guys like Shattenkirk and Yandle be included in this category? Everyone from everywhere get’s ‘overhyped’ in trade talks. It’s a supply/demand thing: fans demand trades/moving parts/excitement to a larger extent than front offices supply said moves.

  10. Mike says:

    Winnipeg has stated that they are looking for a 1 for 1 high impact player swap with the return being another similarly aged left handed D man. They are stacked to the brim with offensive prospects and using Miller as trade bait is not going to work with them. Skjei is the absolute only option and he is far too unproven for winnipeg to take a chance on him at this point.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      That’s probably the case. The only catch is Winnipeg relenting to a lesser offer because no other team with cap space comes forward with a competitive offer.

    • paulronty says:

      Correct.

    • Reenavipul says:

      I want to marry Miss America, but I have 30 days to make this happen so I’m willing to settle.

  11. Stranger Nation says:

    Graves and McIlrath won’t get it done but makes the most sense on both sides.
    .
    It is THE biggest hole on the roster; an RD1 to play with McCapt. Need to get this kid if at all possible.

  12. Reenavipul says:

    The key to getting better is by getting the most value with using the least amount of value. Unless they want Skjei straight up(and you can plug Graves/Holden right in) there is no trade that both sides would do. I don’t think they’ll do Skjei straight up.

    Hence, offer sheet.

    • paulronty says:

      Offer sheets are really frowned upon by the GMs & that is why you don’t often see them. Winnipeg will match & then likely trade a guy like Byfuglien to make Trouba happy.

      • Reenavipul says:

        And that is what will get the NHLPA the moon on a collusion case when it goes to a lockout again.

        This is a textbook case of going for it with minimal downside risk for the Rangers. If you have the financial advantage, why not use it? This ain’t tiddlywinks they’re playing at.

        Byfuglien, Enstrom & Stuart all have NTC deals, so Myers is the only candidate to move. How’s that going over in the locker room?

        WPG has nothing but losing hands.

  13. 43 says:

    Why give up assets when we’re just gonna get Shattenkirk in July?

    • Reenavipul says:

      Because Trouba is 6 years younger than Shattenkirk and I’d rather tie up a 22yr old for 5-6 years instead of a 28 yr old for the same length, hometown discount be damned.

  14. Bloomer says:

    As much as I like McIIrath, I don’t see him as part of the organization as long as AV is behind the bench. Trouba is a right hand shot and could replace Dylan on the right side. Throw in Fast and a pick and see if the Jets bite.

    • Chris A says:

      McIlrath is a goner after this year.

      If he has a great year, Vegas will take him in the expansion draft, since it’s impossible to protect him, and I wouldn’t buyout Staal or Girardi just to protect Dylan. that’s far too expensive. If Dylan has a down year, and doesn’t get into 48 games (I think it’s 48 games) he becomes an unrestricted free agent anyway.

      • Bloomer says:

        Also I should add McIIrath is a hometown Manitoba boy and his style of play would make him a fan favourite in the Peg. Fast could be sold as the second coming of Thomas Steen.

  15. Mattstake says:

    i wouldn’t trade miller for this guy. no way. i’d give them hayes and Skjei…

  16. Reenavipul says:

    And Gropp made it past 1st cuts!!

    Good for him, I hope he gets a chance to keep it going. You can’t push limits if you never get close to them.

  17. Egelstein says:

    IMHO, it’s only really a forward move if it is done without a defenseman going back in return (unless of course it’s Girardi or Staal, but yeah, not happening). Seems that it may only be possible and wise if WIN has their back against the wall and some combo of forwards and picks from us is the best offer they get.

  18. supermaz says:

    Trading Miller is completely crazy. Especially for another defenseman who doesn’t play defense. I don’t understand this new idea that we judge defenseman by their offensive stats. I want our defensemen to actually play defense and play physical.

  19. Zenith says:

    I’d offer Skjei/Hayes/1st and maybe throw in a B prospect. You figure the Rangers will pick around #20 so thats not awful. It gives you about 5-6m in cap space to fit him.