While many people expected that the New York Rangers would lock up defenseman Jacob Trouba quickly after the team acquired the blueliner from Winnipeg in June, that still has not happened. Now with a pending date of July 25 for his arbitration hearing, it’s possible that the two teams will go down to the wire and there’s no guarantee that Trouba won’t sign just a one-year deal or force arbitration.
In fact, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks suggests that while he thought the Trouba deal would already be done, he now wonders whether Trouba has a different plan after all. While Trouba could sign a seven-year deal now, somewhere between $7.5-7.8MM and about $55MM total. However, if he’s willing to bet on himself, the 25-year-old could turn this into a nine-year deal worth as much as $70MM. Trouba could be looking to ink a one-year deal this summer and then would be eligible to sign an eight-year pact after the trade deadline and could really cash in then.
However, the one flaw in Trouba’s plan is whether the Rangers are going to be willing to take the chance that they could lose him for nothing at the end of the year if Trouba decides he doesn’t like it in New York and chooses to sign elsewhere. The Rangers could opt to flip him at the trade deadline if there is no sign that he wants to sign.
Of course, Trouba gave Winnipeg a short list of teams he would play for last month and the Rangers were one of those teams, so it’s unlikely he’s already decided he doesn’t want to stay. Brooks writes that he still believes that Trouba and the Rangers will come to an agreement on a long-term deal as general manger Jeff Gorton and Trouba’s agent Kurt Overhardt have been conducting extensive negotiations, but at the same time, he adds that it is possible that Trouba is trying to get another $15MM out of the Rangers.
Another possibility is that if Trouba could lose quite a bit of money if he gambles on himself and struggles in New York. The Rangers are ready to commit seven years to him right now. Trouba, as well as the Rangers, view him as a top-line defensive player, but often playing in New York creates new pressures. However, Trouba has gambled on himself before, signing a one-year deal with Winnipeg last season and he proceeded to produce a career-high eight goals and 50 points. Also, there is little motivation to get a deal done and real pressure won’t get started until a couple of days before his arbitration day hearing, so we’ll see how things shake out.