It’s a strange time to be doing player report cards. Usually when the dust settles on a season – and Dave and I are texting back and forth about players, coaches, and GMs – it usually isn’t this tumultuous, especially after a season that produced a President’s Trophy.   

The same can be said for Jacob Trouba’s season. Tumultuous.

Trouba started the season looking like the player we saw in 2022, who was aggressive, timing hits right, producing offense, and not being a net negative on defense. Then December hit and he torpedoed. He bounced back after the new year before torpedoing again to close out the season. Then we all witnessed what happened during the playoffs.

Right now, Trouba is being scapegoated to a level by our fan base that I don’t agree with. He did have a down season. However, I didn’t see a lot of positive play from the team defense (including the top 6 forwards) overall. It seems the level of vitriol has gotten past the point of practicality.  

So, if you’ve come to this site looking for an F grade, you are going to be disappointed. And like I’ve said in other report cards, these grades (while subjective in nature) are based on their role within a team, the system, and how they compare against other players around the league who have comparable roles.

Let’s start with Trouba’s role. Before Trouba had a missing ankle, he and K’Andre Miller were tasked with shutting down the opposition. Most of their zone starts were in the defensive zone and most of their minutes were against other teams top 6 forwards.

In Peter Laviolette’s 2-1-2 forecheck and 1-3-1 neutral zone trap for regroups, like Ryan Lindgren, Trouba is the first man into the DZ. This means he’s tasked with stopping opposition forechecks, winning board battles on the right side, covering the slot (when the puck is on Miller’s side), blocking shots, and breaking up plays.

What was the outcome? Well, like Lindgren & really any defensemen with a more defensive role, it’s mixed depending on which metric you value.

During the regular season, Trouba put up 22 points, or about a point per 60 mins (in line with this career avg). His Corsi For % (all shot attempts) was 47.6% and 48.4% for high danger chances (per Natural Stat Trick). Not great, but not horrible (again) considering his difficult role.

He also led the Rangers in blocked shots and was second on the team in hits. Some people don’t value those stats, but I do for players with defensive responsibilities.

On the other hand, the Rangers signed Trouba partly for his ability to get shots through from the point. This season he put up 5.3 shots per 60 and 3 goals, well below his career average (5.8 & 7 respectively). For the regular season, I’d give him a C.

As for the playoffs, his errors were egregious, and his mistimed hit attempts led to goals against. Despite all this and an injured ankle, he was second among defensemen in points (7pts) and was an even in plus/minus (for those who value it), which can’t be completely dismissed. For the playoffs, I’d probably give him an F. However, I also don’t think he should have been playing if he was playing hurt, which it sounded like he was.

Private models I’ve seen paint a slightly rosier picture than what’s public, as his dangerous chances against after a d-zone start were fine & in-line with most 2nd pair defensemen. However, it’s hard to justify that contract with 4 goals in the regular season & postseason combined. At the end of the day, I’m not surprised of the rumors flying around.

Final Grade: D

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