I’ll start this post with a disclaimer. I’m sure that as soon as I hit the publish button Jacob Trouba will sign a nifty 8 year 52 million dollar contract and this entire piece will be invalidated. That my dear reader is how my luck usually goes so lets all prepare for this post to self destruct within the next few hours. With that out of the way let me get to the point and pose a question; What if you were Chevy and you knew without a shadow of a doubt that Jacob Trouba would be leaving the Jets as soon as he became a UFA? As in that’s his agents entire end game and no matter how the circumstances change there was no long term deal in sight. It’s a purely hypothetical question and one only a blogger can get away with, but what if?
Let’s think about that. How would that affect your bargaining position (If you’re chevy) going into talks this year? Perhaps you’d want to squeeze every last drop of value out of an asset that had a maximum 2 year shelf life. Maybe your opening position would be 4 million dollars a season? Wait you say that’s exactly whats happened? How co-incidental.. So lets take that even further, after your low ball offer and a trip to the arbitrators table, your end game might be to get a 1 year 5 million dollar deal and rinse repeat next year, saving yourself valuable cap space for the wunderkinds that will be asking for more money and term in the coming seasons. Why not have Trouba play for less while he auditions his skills for the eventual UFA golden parachute?
Now I know Trouba’s a fan favorite, and he’s actually one of my favorite players as well. He’s a guy that can shut down opponents defensively, score timely goals from the blue line and play with a bit of a mean streak when necessary. Whats not to like? He certainly endeared himself to fans by saying all the right things in the warm afterglow of a successful Jets season, but the real question isn’t whether Jacob Trouba loves Winnipeg, its if Kurt Overhardt wants his client to stay with the Winnipeg Jets long term. So far Kurt has been driving hard bargains for short term, seemingly in an effort to bridge the star defenseman into his UFA years. Overhardt is definitely a go big or go home deal maker and if Chevy is just as obstinate in securing value for his club maybe the plan is to wait things out.
There are however a lot of moving parts when speculating about negotiations. There’s no doubt that the Winnipeg Jets would love to secure Trouba long term and might even pay handsomely to do it. The low ball offers, the arbitration hearing, and the posturing may just be brinkmanship designed to get the best possible deal. We may go down to the wire only to emerge with what we all want; Jacob Trouba a Winnipeg Jet for the next 8 years. However there’s always been a feeling of tension between the two camps and we may have to settle on being a stepping stone to bigger money and brighter lights.
If the worst is true and the Overdardt camp is simply cruising its ship into the big dollar seas of free agency, look for the Jets to make a short 1 year deal to extract what they can for as little as they can. That will put them into a better position to negotiate the final year. If however the rubber is hitting the road behind closed doors, Overhardt will be looking for a big deal and he’ll make the Jets pay for term, probably with an 8 year deal at 6.5 million per season. Both the Jets and Trouba are going to have to decide very soon whether their relationship is going to be long term or a short and sweet deal that’ll get the Jets maximum value and Trouba one step closer to the open market.
The other grenade you can throw into the discussion is whether the Jets might opt to explore a trade. Trouba himself has asked to be traded in the past and if he’s an asset with an expiration date maybe getting value back isn’t out of the question. Certainly the young defensemans trade value is at its zenith and Chevy has a track record of getting a maximum return. It’s a possibility that should at least be considered when discussing the future of Trouba with the Jets.
There’s no doubt that Jets fans and the Jets organization itself would love to see Trouba stay long term, but the question remains; is that the actual plan? That’s what I’m wondering and from some of the signs I’ve seen from both sides I’m not sure it is. One way or the other It’s likely this post will self destruct in ……