NHL Insider says Rangers captain has ‘positive trade equity’ this offseason

NHL: New York Rangers at Pittsburgh Penguins
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

LAS VEGAS — Some extra fuel was added to the fire regarding the possibility the New York Rangers could trade their captain, Jacob Trouba, to free up salary cap space this offseason.

First, Arthur Staple of The Athletic reported Thursday that the Rangers requested Trouba’s 15-team no-trade list already. His contract moves from a full no-move clause to this 15-team no-trade one July 1.

The sooner Rangers general manager Chris Drury can get his hands on that list, the sooner he’ll know a) what teams he could work with and b) if there’s a deal at all to be made.

Then later in the day, NHL Insider Frank Seravelli discussed why he believes a Trouba trade could happen and why he’s added the defenseman to the Daily Faceoff trade board.

“With only two years left on that deal ($8 million per season), teams might not love the cap hit but he has positive trade equity,” Seravelli said on the Daily Faceoff Rundown podcast. “This isn’t a guy that you’re dumping. He’s still an intense physical leader that when you have a team that’s been a non-playoff team, you need guys like Jacob Trouba to help get you there.

“For some team, for two years, that’s a worthy experiment if you have lots of cap space.”

Earlier in the podcast, Seravelli mentioned the Detroit Red Wings as a possible landing spot for Trouba, a Michigan native. They fit Servaelli’s criteria as a team that hasn’t made the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past eight seasons (and just missed this past season with an improved, young roster) and have a projected $31.87 million in salary cap space.

Related: Chris Drury has busy to-do list for Rangers in Las Vegas

Rangers ‘no lock’ to trade Jacob Trouba

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Carolina Hurricanes at New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Seravelli did add that “I don’t think by any means it’s a lock that Trouba gets moved. I think the Rangers are weighing all of their options because they are an aggressive team.”

Trouba’s play dipped this season and into the playoffs. Part of that could be attributed to the broken ankle he sustained in March that sidelined him for a month. But that said, he was on New York’s top penalty killing unit all season and all 16 postseason games. And for most of that time, he paired with K’Andre Miller on the second defense pairing.

His physical style, willingness to block shots, ability to generate some offense and leadership certainly make him desirable — to the Rangers and other teams.

However, the rub is his salary. Trouba might be a third-pair defenseman next season, with the emergence of Braden Schneider. And it’s tough to swallow $8 million per for what he brings, especially if his trajectory is likely heading downward not up.

Plus the Rangers need to free up cap space to add a top-six right wing. Of course, they’d need to affordably replace Trouba on the back-end if he’s dealt. Zac Jones is an option for regular playing time next season, but appears suited to replace Erik Gustafsson, an unrestricted free agent July 1, on the left side of the third pair.

If the Rangers could get a willing trade partner to take on all of Trouba’s remaining salary, the return wouldn’t be so important. It sure would beat buying the captain out since they’d save more money these next two seasons and wouldn’t have to deal with cap penalties down the road.

Removing all of Trouba’s cap hit, after waiving Barclay Goodrow and having his $3.6 million AAV deal over the next three seasons come off the books when the San Jose Sharks claimed the forward, would be another coup for Drury and Co. this offseason.

No doubt, though, a Trouba trade would be a massive move for the Rangers, one that would provide crucial “flexibility,” as Seravelli pointed out.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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