A picture hangs in Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff's office capturing the moment he drafted Jacob Trouba. Four years later, it looked like Trouba's time in Winnipeg might be over.
Trouba asked for a trade and sat out the first 13 games of the season, but on Monday the defenseman agreed to terms on a $6 million, two-year contract that ended the months-long stalemate. The restricted free agent will count $3 million against the salary cap for the remainder of this season and next, a bargain even on a short-term deal.
No matter the value, getting something done before the Dec. 1 deadline for Trouba to play this season was a crucial step for the Jets.
''I'd be lying if I had said if it certainly wasn't a trying and difficult time from my perspective because Jacob means a great deal to our organization,'' Cheveldayoff said on a conference call. ''We're very excited about this announcement and moving forward, putting whatever happened or was said or done behind us.''
The right-handed-shooting Trouba asked for a trade because he wanted to play top-pairing minutes on the right side. The Jets have All-Star right-shot defenseman Dustin Byfuglien signed through 2021, which blocks Trouba's path.
It wasn't immediately clear if Trouba softened his stance about his role, but Cheveldayoff said this deal wasn't made to immediately turn around and trade him.
''He's certainly signed to play for the Winnipeg Jets,'' Cheveldayoff said.
Trouba will make a pro-rated $2.5 million this season and $3.5 million in 2017-18. Cheveldayoff said the 22-year-old could join the team as soon as Tuesday, but that's pending immigration paperwork.
In 211 NHL games, Trouba has 23 goals and 49 assists for 72 points. He's eligible to sign a contract extension July 1, though Cheveldayoff wasn't ready to talk about whether he'll talk about a long-term deal with Trouba this summer.
''The ink's just drying on this contract here, so let's let everything play itself out as it goes,'' Cheveldayoff said. ''Obviously there's lots of different options that are available from the contractual standpoint.''
The Rochester, Michigan, native was the ninth pick in the 2012 draft and is considered one of the better developing blue-line prospects in hockey. He averaged over 22 minutes a game last season and played for Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey in September.
Cheveldayoff met with Trouba and agent Kurt Overhardt in Detroit last week and said negotiations were always professional. Cheveldayoff said Trouba never had a problem with playing in Winnipeg or for another Canadian team, despite reports suggesting that.
The Jets had significant leverage because they owned his rights, but Trouba's absence and an injury to defenseman Tyler Myers tested the team's depth.
''Those are big holes to fill,'' Cheveldayoff said. ''Getting Jacob back, once he rounds into form here, I think that'll certainly help us to continue to improve.''
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