When defenseman Jacob Trouba’s trade request became public, one of the sticking points seemed to be his desire to play on the right side, something he hasn’t been able to do much of in Winnipeg over the course of the past two seasons.
Even while playing on his off-hand side, though, Trouba has excelled, and the 22-year-old blueliner has gotten some big ice time in the Winnipeg lineup as a result. If that weren’t the case, some in the Winnipeg dressing room might understand Trouba’s request a bit more.
However, given the amount of ice time and opportunity Trouba has been given in Winnipeg, the request isn’t sitting well with everyone, maybe most notable Jets center Mathieu Perreault. While many Jets players reacted to the news of Trouba’s request with support and understanding for both sides, Perreault said he was “disappointed” in Trouba for asking out of Winnipeg.
“We would have hoped he would have, they would have (found) a way to get it done,” Perreault said, according to the Winnipeg Free Press’ Mike McIntyre and Scott Billeck. “It’s kind of sad to see. He’s such a young player, obviously. I don’t know, it’s a bit of a weird situation…This guy plays big minutes, 22 minutes, and he’s gonna complain some sort of way about his ice time. How much more does he want?”
While he may have been the most vocal about the situation, Perreault wasn’t completely alone in his sentiment. Veteran winger Bryan Little said the situation was “tough,” but there were also “60 guys (at training camp) who would die to put that jersey on.” The most common answer, though, seemed to be an understanding of the business of Trouba’s request with players trying to balance their relationship with their friend and the success of the team.
The contract situation, and now trade request, will be a tough one for the Jets to manage. When the request became public Saturday, everyone learned that Winnipeg and Trouba’s camp, including agent Kurt Overhardt, haven’t had meaningful contract discussions since before the culmination of the 2015-16 season and the original trade request was made in May. Yet, Trouba remains on the Jets’ roster.
According to TSN’s Gary Lawless, the Jets won’t be willing to move Trouba for anything less than what they believe is fair value — and, Lawless reported, that value is a left-handed blueliner who is at or around the same age and possesses the same skill level as Trouba.
With those as guidelines for a deal, it’s going to be exceptionally difficult for the Jets to find a trade partner. That doesn’t mean a deal is impossible, but it certainly means this situation could drag on much longer than either side would have hoped after the trade request.
Want more in-depth features and expert analysis on the game you love? Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.