Contract Trials and Trouba-lations for the Rangers

Trouba (Jonathan Kozub/National Hockey League/Getty Images)

Jacob Trouba and the New York Rangers are working on a new deal, of that everyone is certain. Yesterday, Larry Brooks proposed a scenario in which Trouba and the Rangers could do a 1 year deal via arbitration and then Trouba would parlay that into an 8 year deal. That is in essence working through the CBA rules to turn what would be a max 7 year deal at this time into 9.

Breaking it down

The 25-year-old American — whom the Rangers envision as their matchup, first-pair righty and first-unit power-play guy through this transition into contention and beyond — cannot sign an eight-year max term contract with the team until the trade deadline passes. Hence, Trouba could opt for a one-year deal via arbitration then sign an eight-year extension either late in the season or before July 1. That, of course, could not be a topic of conversation between the parties at this time, much less agreed upon, for that would represent circumvention.

Larry Brooks

Many reacted that this wasn’t even possible. Our own Steven Voogel who reads the CBA for fun, found the clause that allows it. This is similar to how San Jose waited until after the trade deadline to sign Erik Karlsson to an 8 year deal.

Risky Business

Of course, this is a dangerous game for both sides to play. In an arbitration hearing, Trouba would get less than the $8M he is seeking. Most arbitrators fall somewhere in the middle of what each side submits. Aside from that, a serious injury could have Trouba miss out on his big pay day.

On the reverse side, the Rangers could find themselves with the real prospect of losing Trouba next year for nothing as a UFA. While that is unlikely considering how the trade with Winnipeg went down, it still is a possibility.

Brooks also brought up the eyebrow raising deal that Kevin LaBanc signed in San Jose. He wrote that he was surprised that LaBanc signed a 1 year, $1M deal coming off a 56 point season even though he was an RFA with no arbitration rights.

The article continues with the implication of a deal between the parties as soon as LaBanc is eligible on January 1st, where he would get a much bigger contract. The Sharks are up against the cap, just like the Rangers, and this in essence would be a way to circumvent that. It is a heavy charge and one Brooks believes the NHL will keep an eye on.

By bringing it up, could he be implying that the Rangers and Trouba would be willing to do something similar? Agree to go to arbitration and get a 1 year deal done, then after the trade deadline complete the 8 year max offer. No matter what angle you take, it is very risky business.

The Bottom Line

Trouba (Winnipeg Sun)

Ultimately, I feel a deal will be reached and it won’t have all the twists and turns mentioned by Brooks. Trouba and the Rangers will come to an agreement on a 7 year deal. What would help the Rangers if they could get Trouba in at under 7M on the cap.

How is this possible? Front load it just like they did with Artemi Panarin. This makes the contract lockout proof and players would rather have all that money up front anyway. That way they can invest it which ever way they want.

Regardless, a deal between both sides should be coming and before Trouba’s arbitration hearing on July 25th. And while I doubt the scenario Brooks’ proposed, it does interject an extremely intriguing angle into this already incredible offseason for the Rangers.