Update (8:05pm): The Jets have indeed released a statement, which Custance shared via Twitter. In it, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff calls Trouba, “an important part of the long-term future of our club.” He continued by saying: “any decisions made regarding Jacob Trouba will be in the best interest interest of the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club.”
Cheveldayoff also stated they would “continue to work dilligently to resolve this matter.”
It seems clear the Jets would much rather keep the young blue liner and the team holds nearly all of the cards in this situation. The only two options open to Trouba as a free agent are to sit out and not collect a paycheck or to sign in the KHL. Neither scenario is likely to hold much appeal for Trouba. The Jets might be open to moving Trouba but it sounds as if Cheveldayoff is ready to dig his heels in and only execute a deal if it makes sense for Winnipeg.
(7:04pm): Jacob Trouba’s agent, Kurt Overhardt, released a statement this afternoon officially asking the Winnipeg Jets to trade the restricted free agent defenseman. According to Darren Dreger, who just spoke with Trouba, the request has nothing to do with his feelings for the organization or the city of Winnipeg, but rather about opportunity and ice time. The Jets are deep in right-handed defensemen with Dustin Byfuglien, Tyler Myers and Paul Postma all on the roster and capable of playing the right side.
Trouba was quoted by Dreger, again via tweet, saying: “I didn’t want it to get to this point. To not play is not what I want. This has nothing to do with money…it never has.”
Earlier today we updated the Trouba situation with Winnipeg with club executives saying they expected to sit down with the RFA defender and try to hammer out a new deal. Clearly Trouba’s trade request changes that outlook significantly.
It’s not clear what Winnipeg would demand from interested clubs in exchange for Trouba, but the price is likely to be high. Craig Custance of ESPN suggests the team could look for a comparable, young left-side defender in return. If not a fellow blue liner, perhaps the Jets would want to add a young goal-scorer as the team is returning just three wingers who topped 30 points or 15 goals, though that’s just my own speculation.
Trouba is coming off a 21-point campaign and averaged 22:04 of ice time per game for the Jets. Curiously, he ranked third among Winnipeg blue liners in ice time, just :33 less than Myers, which would seem to contradict part of Overhardt’s statement indicating the request was based on Trouba’s desire to be a top-four blue liner.