Quite a bit of digital ink has been spilled this summer over restricted free agent defenseman Jacob Trouba, and his continuing negotiations with the Winnipeg Jets for his next contract. While speculation has been rampant around a possible trade (at one point he was linked to Boston on an offer sheet) or other transaction, the team has continued to try and re-sign him long term.
Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun caught up with Jets’ GM Kevin Cheveldayoff today to talk about Trouba, and he said just as much.
For us, Jacob is a big part of our organization. He’s someone we drafted and really believe in, long-term and moving forward.
Wiebe also says that talks are ongoing, and now that Trouba is back from the World Cup the two sides will try even harder to get something done before the beginning of the season. We profiled Trouba’s RFA case back in August, and examined his contemporaries and comparable players.
It’s tough for Winnipeg to work something out long-term when they’re unsure of what Trouba is eventually going to become. While his advanced stats profile out to a top-pairing defenseman, he can battle consistency at times (like many young players) and is clearly third or fourth on the depth chart. With almost $20MM tied up already in Dustin Byfuglien, Toby Enstrom and Tyler Myers through 2018, extending a long-term deal at a high cap hit will be difficult.
For every day a contract isn’t done, Trouba loses time to work with his teammates and build up towards this season. While he’s already expected to be in good shape due to his stint at the World Cup, every minute of a missed training camp can effect how you perform on the ice in the first few months. If the Jets plan on pushing for a playoff spot this season, they need their entire compliment of defensemen playing at the top of their game from night one.