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Thoughts following the Jacob Trouba theft

In case you missed it, and I’m not sure how you could have missed it, Jeff Gorton made his first blockbuster of the offseason of rebuild acceleration. Gorton acquired Jacob Trouba from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Neal Pionk and the #20 overall pick this year. The pick originally belonged to Winnipeg, but the Rangers acquired it as part of the Kevin Hayes trade. As per usual, I have some thoughts.

1. This is highway robbery for the Rangers. Neal Pionk was not good, but Gorton made the Jets think he was because he played 20 minutes a night. The first rounder was always going to be a part of this trade, and it doesn’t really matter since the Rangers still have their #2 pick. This was one of those trades where the cost was so much less than expected I thought it came from a fake account at first. Even the non-Trouba fans who were hesitant about the cost should be pleasantly surprised by this trade.

2. Important note on the trade is that the Rangers were not allowed to talk to the Trouba camp in advance. They did not sign him to an extension or have any talks about an extension. This is a risk, but it’s a risk worth taking. In the end, the trade winds up being Trouba and Brendan Lemieux for Pionk and 2 months of Kevin Hayes. Again. Highway. Robbery.

3. How much highway robbery is this? One tweet sums it up:

Yea – Trouba has his own issues in the defensive zone, but he’s a transition defenseman who will carry the top pair. In hockey, the best defense is a good offense, and no matter which way you look at this, he’s still an upgrade on Pionk.

4. Ok on to Trouba the player – he’s not your stud elite defenseman. He’s not PK Subban. He’s not Erik Karlsson. He’s going to have issues in his own end. That part we know and we get. It’s funny because despite his own issues, he’s still better than Pionk. But that aside, Trouba is a 1RD that excels in the transition game, that critical first pass, and getting the game from the defensive zone to the offensive zone. His issues are in preventing zone entries. We will get more into what Trouba is in a later post, but that’s the Cliff’s Notes version. He will be the 1RD, likely paired with his buddy Brady Skjei.

5. This deal adds more fuel to the “Kevin Shattenkirk isn’t going to be a Ranger next year” fire. The right defense gets a little crowded with Trouba, Shattenkirk, Adam Fox, and Tony DeAngelo. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and someone can play on the left side. As mentioned yesterday, having too many bodies is a good thing. Injuries will run their course. Fox may need some time in the AHL. Nothing is a guarantee with rookies.

6. This really does accelerate the rebuild because it begins to address a major problem for the Rangers. They landed their 1RD, who admittedly may not be a true stud, but still does the job. They rid themselves of a bad player who happened to play the same position. There is still a lot of work to be done on this front, though. I am as excited as anyone about this trade, but Trouba is no savior. There’s still two bad contracts and one bad coach that need to be addressed. Plus the 2C role.

7. (Updated at 8:30am) It’s worth noting that the Rangers basically had a choice between Pionk and DeAngelo. Only one was going to be kept. They chose correctly and kept DeAngelo. I’m relatively confident that this was the plan all along –all Jeff Gorton had to say about Pionk on MSG was that he played a lot of minutes– it is worth noting that the Rangers evaluated their blue line properly. Perhaps playing him all those minutes and in those situations was a way of showcasing him? GMs often look at TOI as a major indicator of player value.

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  1. I still can’t believe how little we gave up. Now get him signed long term. He’s been in Byfuglien’s shadow and often out in his off side . He needs to be 1 RD and I’m optimistic he is going to make Skjei a better player too. He’s a big upgrade to what we had and we’ll see what Quinn can do to round out his game. Thinking they may ship a few players out by Saturday morning. This is really been a fabulous spring and they sure have pushed the rebuild in the right direction without acting stupidly.

  2. Happy days! The Rangers just got a gift! You are right that we still have two bad contracts and one bad coach. DQ isn’t all that bad though.

  3. A move that solves many problems. Rids us of Pionk, gets a 1RD and also gives up a pick that we knew had to go if we wanted Trouba.

    If we sign Panarin, and if we move Shatty, that completely overhauls the defense and provides some punch on offense. Still think a possible CK deal helps us with another first round pick in draft.

    You have to feel good about this move.

  4. I’ve been wanting this for 3 years, I’m emotionally spent, lol.

    He’s here, he will be extended, WE GOT OUR MAN, for virtually nothing worth crying over.

    Great job JG and JD!! We finally have a management that we can believe in.

    1. Trouba is not the second coming of Barry Beck, but he will improve the Rangers blueline. What if New York signed Kevin Hayes to fill the 2nd line center role? That would mean Pionk was essentially traded for Trouba and Lemieux. Anyhow, Chevy likely has enough issues in the Peg without Gorton rubbing salt in the wound.

      1. I agree bro, my whole thinking on this, is that the Rangers get a legit top pair D man without paying $11M per.

        IMO, 7 years at $7.5M per gets it done. That’s not egregious for a top pair D man, and with the Rangers having a lot of dead wood contracts, gaining cap space will be easy.

        And this in no way keeps Panarin from coming. They add him, then the Rangers can contend, IMO. As long as they keep CK as well.

        The 2C position is a problem for sure. Does Kakko fill that spot? I look at him as a winger, but maybe the Rangers put him at center. If not, then I think someone like Names takes 2C, as I do not believe that Chytil is ready. Unless they sign another C. Hayes would be too costly if the Rangers are pursuing Panarin, can’t have all 3 (Trouba, Panarin, and Hayes). Not enough cap space no matter what players they shed. And too much cap space tied up in too few players.

        1. Names could pivot the young Ranger wingers and Strome was a 2nd line center back in his fishstick days. But my fear is if the Rangers start leaning too hard on Zib he could start to break down. Trouba should be locked up for 7 years, he is steady still has some upside and no real glaring faults. If he eventually is relagated to a 2nd or 3rd paring, the Rangers blueline will have arrived.

          1. I say Names because he can play with talented players, but admittedly it’s a weak 2C.

            The Rangers may go outside to get someone. There are teams that will be in cap hell and may have to make trades for cap relief. The Rangers can be beneficiaries of that type of situation.

            I cannot see them not addressing the 2C spot. It’s an obvious weakness right now.

              1. For some reason, and I don’t know why, I think Kakko goes top 6 before Krav does.

    2. How fitting if somehow we were to win a cup with Hank in the net and JD as GM.. like this season….. I can dream….

  5. Even with his warts, Jake is a heck of an improvement over anything we have on the right side. He is also a big man who can skate, has a long reach, and can poke pucks away from carriers, while Pionk was a smurf, and was manhandled quite a bit. Jake also can throw the body, another shortcoming by our old corp old D-men. All aspects of his game is a major step up if you ask me.

    Not to repeat myself, but here it comes, last night I said “Thank You” Dr Trouba, I want to say that again, because she was the force behind this trade!!!!!!!!!!

  6. We are no where near Thanksgiving and JG just got us GRAVY!
    Sweet!

    What a master move by the MGT!

    LGR!!!!

  7. Message to the Metropolitan Division – “We’re back!”. Maybe not a Stanley Cup contender yet, but we just got more solid on the blueline. Additions of Kakko and Kraftsov should make us more exciting on offense too.

    You can also think of it this way, since the first rounder went back and forth, we moved a UFA Hayes and Pionk for a RFA Trouba. I would make that deal again.

  8. It’s an excellent move because the price was so low but the fact that we weren’t allowed to speak to Trouba about an extension is concerning. His contract negotiations were difficult in Winnipeg when Winnipeg had the leverage. One year from UFA status means Trouba will hold all the cards. And prices seem to be rising. If Skinner gets 9 million per why wouldn’t Trouba want that too. Hopefully the fact that his wife supposedly wanted to move to NY and that his opportunity here seems perfect for him will carry the day.

  9. Great deal but I hope Trouba has broad freaking shoulders and thick skin given the expectations he is going to have weighing him down. Let’s hope he doesn’t get run out of town like Shatty.

    We shall see how much Trouba wants to be a Ranger based on how the extension plays out against the cap and for how long.

  10. This is a strong trade for us. We now have our big, mobile, hitting, somewhat mean defenseman. Something we have not had in a long time. Hopefully he stays healthy. He has only played more than 65 games twice in his career. He is entering his playing prime for defenseman now. Next we need to think about what Trouba will ask for in contract negotiations. If he is asking for too much we sign his 1 year RFA contract and can flip him at the deadline for more than we gave up for him if he plays hardball. But he is going to look good skating at the Garden. Now lets try to rid ourselves of Shatty without a buyout. Some salary retention and a draft pick sweetener to whichever team will take him. Way to go JG! Lets Go Rangers!!

  11. Fans should have realistic expectations about Trouba or he could quickly have a target on his back. I don’t consider him mean at all. I would say for his size he is not particularly physical. His game is actually fairly similar to Shatty when Shatty was in his prime. Very good in the transition and offensive zone – some deficiencies in the D Zone. Of course he’s at the perfect age to take his game to the next level.

    Worse case (play and/or contract), like someone said, we could likely flip him at the deadline for the draft pick if Hayes got that pick. And Pionk is almost addition by subtraction. Perhaps Gorton sent a video of Pionk’s highlight goal against the Islanders to Cheveldayoff every day for weeks.

  12. Trouba for Pionk and we give them their pick back. WHAT? Is this April 1st?

    Okay okay, it really happened. Now we need to move Shatty and Smith, Names and Vesey and maybe CK. THis will open up some spots, get us back a first round pick save us some cash to go shopping at the Bread store! Gorton – your time is now. Keep the calls coming and make more moves. 96 hours till we land Kakko. Maybe the Sharks want to continue spending foolish money – give em’ a call.

    Will need to buyout Smith or Shatty if we cannot move them, unless Smith becomes the AHL star he was meant to be.

  13. How bad is it in Winnipeg? rumors many players want out…. Did Trouba tell Chevy he is only going to sign long term with the Rangers because of the Wife thing? Chevy is known as a ball buster.

    Is this the new NHL where you aren’t gonna get good value back for your good players?

    Word is Gorton is absolutely not done here….OMG Trouba is on cap friendly woooooooo

    Big Bad Rangers are coming

  14. Morning Gentleman- Keep an eye on the Chris Kredier negotiations. Rangers want to keep Chris but if the price goes above what Gorton and JD will accept, look for Kredier to be moved at the draft. Rangers are looking to get back into the first round for a specific prospect.

    1. Me thinks the NYR want a pick around #13 in this draft. If moving CK can accomplish that, than look for CK to be on the move. Package him and Smith and a 4th rounder for the 13th (or so) pick in the draft and we just hit another homerun. Let’s do this thing Gorton!

      BTW, don’t think for a minute that JD doesn’t want to make a splash here too. It will look great if he takes a team that didn’t make the playoffs for 2 years into at least the second round of the playoffs.

      1. Let’s be honest here, this is all about Gorton … not JD. Gorton has coveted Trouba for a couple of years now, but who could have ever imagined the price would be so low? I mean how many teams shell out a 1st rounder for some guy who is only going to play 25+ games … oh right, like the Jets. lol

    2. I think the only way they will get back into the first round is if they move Kreider. None of the other players are worth a first round pick

      1. Not when you have two 2nd rounders to throw around. Add one or both to Namestnikov or Vesey or Strome and you might get a bite.

    3. Losing Kreider would be a mistake. 6.5 mil should keep him here. We would have to be overwhelmed to trade him!

  15. and Trouba will be re signed to a new contract in the up coming weeks, more moves are coming

    1. I see little reason for Trouba to sign now. Why wouldn’t he wait to see if he likes playing here. He’s always been a tough negotiator and it seems market value for FA’s is increasing dramatically these days. There certainly is no indication he is giving any team a discount. The fact that the Jets wouldn’t allow anyone to speak to his agent speaks volumes and probably scared potential trade partners away.

      Regarding Kreider I think the Rangers are highly motivated to sign him, especially now that the rebuild has sped up a bit. One thing the Rangers clearly lack is the size/speed/skill combination that the teams that succeeded in the just completed playoffs exhibited. Kreider emodies that as much as anyone on the roster right now.

      1. Ask Dr. Trouba if there’s reason to sign here long term.

        The Jets didn’t allow his agent to talk with anyone for one simple reason, they feared he would KILL any deal that wasn’t to a team he wanted to go to — in the end that tactic didn’t work, but it was worth a try.

  16. A total heist by Gorton. Worst case scenario (and unlikely) is we somehow can’t sign Trouba to an extension. We then trade him at the deadline and get what should be a comparable pick to the 20th in a loaded draft.

    Along with stealing Mika (and a 2d) for Brassard and upgrading the farm system from one of the worst to one of the best in just 2 years, Gorton is looking like a gem of a GM.

    1. Trouba (difference-maker) arrives on Tuesday, Kakko (a possible future star) gets drafted on Friday, and Panarin (game-changer) signing is imminent………a GREAT week to be a Rangers fan!

  17. Potential Forwards Depth Chart

    Kreidr-Zib-Buch
    Chytil- Namestokov?-Panarin?
    Kratsov-Howden-Kakko
    Fast-Anderson-Lemieux

    Not so sure about this as 2C is a somewhat of a hole. Something tells my Chytil would have to be moved to 2-Center and Kakko up to 2-Wing, while Name down to 3-Wing. Vesey and perhaps Strome are toast.

  18. Larry Brooks = M-O-R-O-N
    Funny how Larry’s “sources” were off on their information that it would take a boatload to get Trouba. Krieder/#1 pick/Buch (and maybe even Lias) to obtain Trouba. Plus every team in the NHL would be involved in a crazy bidding war for his services. “They hold all the cards”!!

    An absolute embarrassment to sports journalism.

    1. To be fair Pal….I agree Brooks likes his Irish coffee sometimes…But if the Jets lost all the dance partners because JT said I will only sign long term with X…The cost got driven to the floor…If it was an open bid process …Im sure that would be the cost

      1. To be fair it wasn’t a GREAT secret that Trouba wanted to play for a US team and somewhere in the NY area in particular … it also wasn’t a secret that of the 3 local teams only the Rangers have the confidence that they can sign a guy like Trouba long term. If you’re the Islanders or the Devils you don’t have that innate confidence — they never have and they never will. The Jets took a calculated risk that by not allowing Trouba’s agent to talk with any other team his value wouldn’t nose dive, but knowing the above (about the 3 local teams) it was a poor risk. In the same vein Brooks took a poorly calculated risk as well by insinuating the Jets had the power here — bad call that I think was apparent too many. Admittedly though I’m not sure anyone would have thought the deal would work out this well for us — I mean we paid two 2nd rounders (assuming he plays 30 games in the NHL) for Fox, that really isn’t much less than a late 1st and Pionk (some might argue it’s more lol).

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