Jacob Trouba likely to be traded by draft, Rangers and Red Wings top contenders

Trouba (Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports)

This has been a long time coming between Jacob Trouba and the Winnipeg Jets. The two sides haven’t seen eye to eye since 2016 when the then RFA held out and demanded to be traded.

Trouba and the Jets worked out a bridge deal, and in 2018 the young defenseman said all the right things about wanting to stay in Winnipeg and signing a long term deal. Still, nothing could be worked out and they went all the way to arbitration where he was awarded a 1 year deal at $5.5M last summer.

Now here we are today and it looks like the 25 year old RFA is going to be traded before the draft starts next Friday. While many teams are interested, as of last night it appears the two front runners for Trouba are the Rangers and Red Wings.

I’ve spoken to multiple people close to both teams that say things have certainly heated up. The fact that Winnipeg has allowed Trouba’s agent to discuss contract with possible trade partners really cements that a trade is going to happen. Trouba will be looking for max years and at least $7 to 8 million per season.

Editor Note: The Jets have yet to allow Trouba’s agent to speak with teams on a contract. This however, doesn’t alter the fact that Winnipeg’s goal is to trade Trouba before the draft – Anthony 6/16

Trouba (Getty Images)

The one thing you hear in the rumor mill is that the ask is very high. I’ve heard it starts with a 1st round pick, which if that’s the case puts the Rangers in the driver’s seat since they have the 20th overall selection to spare. Winnipeg hasn’t made a 1st round selection in 2 years and counting.

Steve Yzerman is looking to make a splash as Detroit’s new GM, but trading the 6th overall pick isn’t likely. Not when he can draft a top center or defenseman with it. So why are the Red Wings a front runner? Jacob Trouba is from Michigan and played his college hockey there. If the contingency for any deal is to have a contract in place and he wants to only return home, it will handcuff the Jets. It also hurts any other team that would be willing to make the trade with no deal in place.

Winnipeg is in an even tighter spot as their top priority is to sign RFA superstar Patrick Laine to a mega deal that will eat up a good amount of their cap space. Going to arbitration again with Trouba will likely see an award of $7M dollars for 1 year and becoming a rental at the trade deadline before he heads to UFA status. None of this is good for Winnipeg and could lower the price if this gets to draft day and a trade isn’t done.

As for the Rangers, some other rumors have floated around that Lias Andersson is a player the Jets want but my source in Winnipeg has not heard that. What was confirmed is that Trouba is all but gone and the Rangers have the assets and players to get it done. The conversation ended with, “you guys are gonna love him.”

The NHL draft is Friday, June 21st.