Let's say the Jets had to exchange Jacob Trouba. The 25-year-old defender had made it clear that he had no intention of signing an extension in Winnipeg and that the Jets had no intention of paying what it would cost to keep Trouba when he would become an unrestricted free agent next summer – probably somewhere north of $ 7 million for every seven years. For the Jets, it was: move it now, or maybe by the deadline, or lose it for nothing. This need somewhat dampened the Jets' leverage, but after trading Trouba with the Rangers on Monday, they seem to have been stolen, even because of these low standards.
The Rangers acquired Trouba for 23-year-old defenseman Neal Pionk – just like Trouba, a right handed shooter, but a much smaller player – and the 20th overall pick in Friday's draft. This 20th choice was at the origin of the Jets, sent to New York for Kevin Hayes on schedule, so from an opposite point of view, Trouba and Brendan Lemieux for Pionk and two months of Hayes. From all points of view, it's a good deal for the Rangers – Trouba, who has had a 50-point season, has his place in the first pair right away.
Trouba was the best D-Man on the trade market and not long ago, a dozen teams were interested in his services. With such a bidding war, the Jets should have been able to make the most of it. But according to a report from the New York PostLarry Brooks, Winnipeg, inexplicably torpedoed the Trouba market.
The Jets, however, refused to allow the Trouba camp to speak to interested parties. In the absence of relative certainty as to a contract with the defender, which is one year of unrestricted freedom of maneuver, the clubs withdrew. The price has fallen[.]
As the other teams did not really know if Trouba would sign an extension in a new destination, the Jets self-defeated it-turned it into a one-year lease, with a corresponding drop in what the teams were willing to to offer. But the players and agents have the means to announce their intentions, and the Rangers, who are preparing to rebuild, will have a lot of money and a lot of enthusiasm to sign Trouba in the long run. There is no observer who thinks that the extension will not be in New York.
With the market found in Trouba, the Rangers seem to have reached the milestone of their reconstruction – announced publicly a year and a half ago – from the constitution of stocks of assets to their transformation into talents. The Rangers still have a lot assets, including the overall # 2 pick that will be used on Kaapo Kakko, and a second-round pair, plus a crowd of young players this could be very attractive in commercial packages. General Manager Jeff Gorton has been commended for collecting assets, but it's usually the easiest part of the equation. Landing Trouba is a hellish start on the hardest part, and a sign that the Rangers' schedule could accelerate – it's not difficult to put them back into contention as early as 2021.
As for the Jets? This is a talented team that must above all avoid panic after a defeat in the first round against the future champions of the Cup. Unfortunately, Trouba had to be moved. But he does not need to be moved for this misery.