The big news is here, time has run out and unfortunately the Arbitrator was needed to bring Chevy and Overhardt together. Jacob Trouba will be a Jet for 1 more year with an arbitrator awarding him 5.5 million dollars, a number that splits the difference between each opening offer. Unfortunately for Jets fans this brings the previously muddy issue of Jacob Troubas long term plans into a bit more focus and it certainly doesn’t bode well for fans that were hoping to see his number in the rafters at the Bell/MTS Centre.
Simply letting the arbitrator make the ruling means that neither side was particularly desperate to make a long range commitment. It’s clear that each side knows the others intent and this wasn’t so much a stand off as it was a fait de complete. It seems clear that Overhardt is indeed simply putting his client on cruise control until the UFA years kick in as he knows hes unlikely to get Chevy to bite on a huge overpay. It also seems clear that the allure of winning Stanley Cups hasn’t been enough to goad Overhardts client into putting down roots in the river city. So what now?
Now the Jets go into value mode. They most likely accept the 1 year deal which is a pretty good deal for the services of an elite NHL defenseman and explore how to a) replace him long term and b) leverage him as an asset to get the most out of him short term. Inevitably the trade options will have to at least be explored as you now have a player that is most likely out the door in 2 years. However making that trade and getting equal value back is easier said than done. The Jets without Trouba start to look thin on the right side and pulling off a trade for the same position is an extremely hard proposition. Montreal tried it with PK Suban and are now reaping the consequences. The name Karlsson is sure to come up but in my opinion Chevy would have to do some heavy duty gm-fu to pull that one off. Finding a number two center might be more likely but in that case you need the likes of Tucker Poolman to make a huge leap forward in development.
Without a trade the Jets will need to secure Trouba for the least amount of money while getting the maximum output which shouldn’t be exceptionally difficult as his camp tries to put up numbers as the UFA years approach. The last year would likely see Another arbitration ruling and another year at 5.5 to 6 million after which the great bidding war can begin. With the current mood that’s the most likely scenario however there’s always hope that the two sides could come together for yet another crack at a long term deal. A Stanley cup run might go a long way in moving both camps back to the table.
For a lot of fans today’s arbitration compromise isn’t the best news, not because the deal represents bad value for the club but because it represents the current state of relations between the Jets and Trouba’s management. The state of that relationship seems to be cool at best and with the role Trouba plays with the Jets that’s an unsettling prospect. It seems as though without a magical cup run or sudden change of heart in Troubas camp Jets fans might have to savour the next two seasons and prepare for life without the star defenseman in the long run.