Unpacking the Jacob Trouba Situation

USATSI_9019422_154158418_lowresOn Friday, news emerged that Winnipeg Jets defenceman Jacob Trouba wants to be traded. His agent, Kurt Overhardt, released a public statement clarifying the stance.

Trouba will not be attending training camp, for starters. According to Overhardt, he’s been trying to work out a trade since May. There has been no “negotiation regarding the terms of a contract between our client and the Jets over the course of the last several months.”

At the core of this matter is Trouba’s desire to play as a prominent right-shot defenceman. In Winnipeg, the 22-year-old looks to be relegated to the lower reaches of the roster due to an embarrassment of riches at the position. Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers have received more ice time on the right side, which illustrates Trouba’s problem.

As is usually the case in these sorts of stories, there are rumours. Among them, Trouba never intended to stay in Winnipeg.

The defenceman insists such talk is simply not true, as the matter all revolves around not receiving enough ice time in Winnipeg. Trouba simply can’t live up to his potential as a right-hand blueliner. End of story.

Of course, it’s never really the “end of story” when someone asks for a trade in the NHL – even if that player is unsigned. There are ripples, through the team and the league.

“He plays big minutes for us. He was a top defenceman,” said forward Mathieu Perreault. “We like him and want him here. All of a sudden he wants out. It’s not something we really appreciate…I’m disappointed in him asking for that. It’s a little selfish of him. I don’t understand it.”

And there are opportunities, places for Trouba to go.

One possibility is Edmonton, where the Oilers have some issues down the right side and could use a player of his calibre. General manager Peter Chiarelli addressed some of the problem with the acquisition of Adam Larsson, but vacancies remain and the team hasn’t been shy about shopping. The same goes for Arizona. The Detroit Red Wings also have needs behind Mike Green.

Trouba naturally wants to go to “…a place where I have the ability to reach my potential as a right shot D. There’s plenty of need for that in this league. I’ve played on the right side for 18 years. As a 22-year-old, I don’t have the opportunity to do it in Winnipeg.”

With training camp underway, Trouba’s trade request puts both team and player in an interesting position. But the Jets hold most of the cards with the restricted free agent and can afford to make the sort of deal that works for them. And from the sounds of things, they’ll have plenty of dance partners on the open market.

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