Hovering over the Jacob Trouba situation with the Jets is the Dec.1 deadline for re-signing restricted free agents.
The standoff between the Winnipeg Jets and defenseman Jacob Trouba shows no sign of a quick resolution. A restricted free agent, the 22-year-old Trouba continues to withhold his services and is home in Michigan awaiting a trade. Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, however, isn’t in any hurry to honor the blueliner’s request.
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports the Buffalo Sabres, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings and Arizona Coyotes contacted the Jets expressing interest in Trouba. The New York Post’s Larry Brooks believes the New York Rangers could use him, speculating GM Jeff Gorton has likely done his due diligence.
The problem, however, is Cheveldayoff reportedly set a high asking price. It’s believed he seeks a left-handed defenseman comparable to Trouba in age, skills and experience. A return of high draft picks and promising prospects won’t cut it. Brooks suggests it could take a package of promising rearguard Brady Skjei and a forward such as Chris Kreider or J.T. Miller for the Rangers to land Trouba.
Trouba’s new contract is another stumbling block. It could cost over $5-million annually on a long-term deal to re-sign him. The Coyotes, Red Wings, Sabres, Bruins and Rangers lack sufficient cap space, so the Jets must take back some salary as part of the return. The Panthers already addressed their blueline needs this summer by signing Keith Yandle and Jason Demers, so they’re unlikely to get into any serious bidding for Trouba.
Cheveldayoff, meanwhile, maintains his decision on Trouba will be one that meets the best interests of the Jets. His club’s performance in the coming weeks, however, will have an effect on this standoff. If the Jets are playing well, Cheveldayoff can remain patient. If they struggle, he’ll feel the pressure to use Trouba as a trade chip to bolster the roster.
Hovering over this situation is the Dec.1 deadline for re-signing restricted free agents. If unsigned by that point, Trouba becomes ineligible to play the remainder of this season. His agent, Kurt Overhardt, told the Winnipeg Free Press it’s not a pressing issue right now, noting plenty of time remains to work out a transaction that mutually benefits both sides.
TRADE SPECULATION AROUND WIDEMAN
Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman was a healthy scratch during the club’s recent games against the Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres. This will provide fodder for the trade rumors dogging the 33-year-old blueliner.
Wideman is eligible next July for unrestricted free agency. Since last season, he’s struggled against faster opponents while his playing time and production declined.
Prior to Wideman’s late-season suspension for hitting linesman Don Henderson, there was talk the Flames were shopping him before the trade deadline. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports the Flames also tried moving Wideman in the off-season.
Wideman’s $5.25-million cap hit and a full no-movement clause also make it difficult to trade him. However, there is a market among NHL teams for right-handed blueliners. A rival club could take a chance on him, though they could ask the Flames to pick up part of his remaining salary or take back a toxic contract in return.
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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