A week after Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba made his public request for a trade, speculation over where the 22-year-old could be dealt is dominating the NHL rumor mill. Several pundits explored possible trade destinations.
The Winnipeg Sun's Ken Wiebe suggests the Arizona Coyotes, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, and Philadelphia Flyers could use a defenseman such as Trouba. USA Today's Kevin Allen, Sportsnet's Luke Fox, and the Toronto Sun's Michael Traikos also include the Coyotes, Bruins, Avs and Wings on their respective lists.
Allen believes the New Jersey Devils could be interested in Trouba. Traikos includes the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks on his list while Fox added the Toronto Maple Leafs to his.
TSN's Darren Dreger claims a vast number of clubs, from the league's lower-level teams to the defending Stanley Cup champions, were looking at Trouba. He also reports there were offers for the Jets rearguard months before his trade request.
Dreger's colleague Bob McKenzie said the Jets seek a defenseman with a left-handed shot who's similar in age, experience and skills to Trouba. Finding that type of return, however, won't be easy.
While citing Anaheim's Hampus Lindholm, Toronto's Morgan Rielly and Arizona's Oliver Ekman-Larsson as comparables, McKenzie doesn't believe those defensemen will be traded. He reports the Coyotes, Bruins, Avalanche and Rangers have significant interest in Trouba, provided the Jets changed the parameter of their asking price.
CSNNE.com's Joe Haggerty claims the Bruins had interest in Trouba earlier this summer, even giving consideration to pitching him an offer sheet. He feels this is a golden opportunity for the Bruins. Haggerty doubts an offer of center Ryan Spooner, defenseman Joe Morrow and a first-round pick will be enough. He speculates the Jets might seek a promising prospect such as Brandon Carlo, or perhaps a veteran like Adam McQuaid if they seek an immediate replacement for Trouba.
Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press notes the Wings have depth in forwards to use as trade bait, though they won't part with rising star Dylan Larkin. She thinks the Jets could ask for blueliner Danny DeKeyser. Dreger reports the Wings and Jets discussed a Trouba deal earlier this summer, but Detroit GM Ken Holland balked at parting with two of his higher-level forwards.
The Toronto Star's Damien Cox believes the Leafs have plenty of promising young forwards to tempt the Jets. In his list of proposed destinations, Fox suggests the Leafs package one of those young forwards with defenseman Jake Gardiner.
Not every club on those lists, however, could get into the bidding for Trouba. The Edmonton Journal's David Staples notes Oilers coach Todd McLellan, the bench boss for Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey, only inserted Trouba into the lineup once Aaron Ekblad was sidelined by a neck injury. Perhaps McLellan and Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli (also the GM of Team North America) don't think as highly of Trouba as others around the league.
The Oilers do have a pair of good young left-handed rearguards in Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse but Chiarelli could be unwilling to part with them. Factor in the enormous cost of re-signing young stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in the near future, and the Oilers probably can't afford to sign Trouba.
As for the Flyers, they want to make room for promising young Ivan Provorov on their blueline. Given their limited cap space, they can't afford a new salary for Trouba. The Devils certainly could, carrying $11.4 million in cap room. However, they lack sufficient assets to meet the Jets' asking price. Cap space is also an issue for the Red Wings, Rangers, Coyotes, Canucks, and Avalanche.
The Sabres have over $7.5 million in cap room, but they've must also re-sign promising blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen. While the Sabres and Jets have a recent trade history, it's doubtful they'll swap their respective holdout blueliners.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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