The Rangers need to trade for Jacob Trouba
The Winnipeg Jets season finished earlier than many expected as they were taken out in the first round by the St. Louis Blues in six games. The White Walkers from Beyond The Wall are staring into the long night as they approach what is to be, a dreaded summer.
At the moment the Jets have just under $24 million in cap space. That may sound like a good amount of money, but they have some big mouths to feed. Some of those mouths are the likes of Patrick Laine (RFA), Nathan Beaulieu (RFA), Tyler Myers (UFA), Kyle Connor (RFA), Kevin Hayes (UFA), and Jacob Trouba (RFA). It is impossible for the Jets to pay all of these players with that amount of cap space, so I expect big changes are coming. Laine and Connor will be the first contracts done but both will come at a steep price. I do not expect them to keep Hayes, and keeping Myers will be very tough. Beaulieu can be flipped for assets, but it is Trouba that interests me most. Trouba’s name has been linked to the Rangers for quite some time now, and I think Gorton and the Rangers brass need to get a deal done for him ASAP.
Jacob Trouba is one of the most underrated defensemen in all of hockey, in my opinion. He is a 25-year-old, right shot defenseman that compiled 50 points this year. 50 points for any defenseman is extremely impressive, and the fact that he is a right shot makes him all the more valuable. The Jets and Trouba were not able to come to an agreement on a long term contract last summer, and the two went to arbitration. The arbitrator settled on Trouba getting a one-year contract for $5.5 million. Trouba has one more year of being an RFA this upcoming summer.
Trouba, as mentioned before, proved his worth compiling 50 points for the Jets. There has been, what seems to be, bad blood between the two, and many believe that Trouba has played his last game as a member of the Winnipeg Jets. As mentioned before, I think that Gorton should be all over acquiring Trouba and signing him to a well deserved extension. An extension that should carry the eight-year max, along with an AAV of $7 million. For those of you who disagree, remember Trouba is only 25, not 29 like Ryan McDonagh will be when his contract extension kicks in this summer with the Bolts.
What will it cost to pry Trouba from the Jets?
The Jets still have a window of opportunity to win the cup, so I do not think that futures will suit GM Kevin Cheveldayoff in a potential trade. I believe that it will be what is know to most as a “hockey trade” that gets it done. For those of you unfamiliar with the term “hockey trade”, it is a trade that involves mainly roster players and not futures; something along the lines of the Hurricanes/Flames blockbuster that went down last summer. The Rangers are going to bolster their top-nine next season with the additions of 2018 draft pick, Vitali Kravstov, and what we all expect to be Finnish superstar, Kaapo Kakko with the second overall pick in June. The Rangers will also be active in the free agent market this summer, and many, including myself, expect them to take a run at current Blue Jacket Artemi Panarin. This influx of forwards makes some of the current roster expendable, particularly Chris Kreider.
Kreider is due for an extension next summer, and with the assumption of Panarin coming to the Rangers this summer, giving the 29-year-old to be 29 a seven-year, $7 million extension may not be wise. Kreider would be the centerpiece of this trade, so here is my proposal:
Kreider, who has one year left at $4.625 million, with 50% retained, Strome or Namestnikov with 50% retained, a cost controlled defenseman like DeAngelo, or Pionk, and a mid-round pick. I don’t know if this is enough to get it done, but Kreider at 50% is extremely enticing to a Winnipeg team that is desperate for cap help. Gorton can also get interesting by absorbing a bad contract such as Kulikov, who has one more year left at $4.333 million.
In summary, the Rangers back end was atrocious last year, to say the least. They need a significant upgrade there, and Trouba is that significant upgrade. He is a 50-point scoring, 25-year-old right shot defenseman. Gorton has done a great job acquiring assets over the past 18 months and will have an influx of good, young forwards this year making others expendable.