It was only a little more than a year ago that there was plenty of speculation surrounding Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba. He was without a contract into November and had asked for a trade. No move materialized as instead, he signed a two-year bridge deal and rescinded his trade request. That contract is up on July 1st, 2018 which makes him eligible to sign an extension at any time.
In an appearance on Sportsnet 960 (audio link), Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggests that Winnipeg will let the season play out and then try to sign him to a new long-term deal at that time. Unlike his first time as a restricted free agent, he will have arbitration eligibility this time around. His qualifying offer will be set at his 2017-18 salary of $3.5MM.
Trouba has made it clear that he does not like shifting to play the left side and Tyler Myers is signed through 2018-19 and Dustin Byfuglien through 2020-21 so that logjam on the right will still be in play for at least another year when the team sits down with him to try to hammer out a new pact.
From a statistical standpoint, the 23-year-old isn’t helping his cause too much. He has just eight points through 26 games which is his second-lowest point-per-game average of his career. With Winnipeg having a healthy back end on the right side, he’s also averaging a career-low 21:09 per night in ice time. With that in mind, it would make sense to wait on extension talks from his perspective even if he were to be approached by management.
While the Jets have a very pricey back end this season (one that costs over $30MM once Mark Stuart’s buyout is factored in), they will have a big chunk of that freed up when Toby Enstrom’s $5.75MM contract expires at the end of the season. As a result, they should have the money available to sign Trouba long-term if they so desire at a cost that will likely come relatively close to Enstrom’s expiring deal.