The Jets finally got defenseman Jacob Trouba signed to a team-friendly bridge deal, which might actually make him more attractive to trade suitors.
The standoff between the Winnipeg Jets and defenseman Jacob Trouba ended Monday when he inked a two-year, $6-million contract. Despite the signing, speculation over the 22-year-old’s trade status lingers.
Sportsnet’s Mark Spector suggests Trouba’s affordable contract makes him easier to trade. He said it gives the Jets a “motivated defenseman” who “needs to prove his worth on the open market.” TSN’s Darren Dreger said the Jets could still trade the blueliner. However, they’re under no obligation to do so and no promise of a trade was made.
Spector also wondered if Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will make a trade, or if the two sides could face another potential standoff when the deal expires in 18 months. Cheveldayoff, however, told Hockey Central at Noon he’s not looking at trading Trouba.
The talk of a possible sign-and-trade remains because Trouba’s agent is Kurt Overhardt, who also represents Ottawa Senators center Kyle Turris. In the fall of 2011, Turris and Overhardt were in a similar standoff with the Phoenix Coyotes. On Nov. 22, the Coyotes re-signed Turris and traded him on Dec. 17 to the Senators.
The Trouba trade talk should recede over the remainder of this season, but it’s unlikely we’ve heard the end of it. The chatter could resurface once the playoffs are over in June. It’ll certainly flare up again in the summer of 2018, when he’ll become a restricted free agent with salary-arbitration rights.
BLUE JACKETS LOOKING TO SHED SALARY
With 12 points in their first 10 games, the Columbus Blue Jackets are off to a better start compared to last year’s season-opening eight game losing streak. Despite the solid start, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports the Jackets still hope to shed some salary.
The Jackets only have $1.5 million in cap space. Garrioch notes they attempted to move left winger Scott Hartnell and his $4.75-million annual salary. He also claims GM Jarmo Kekalainen could listen if someone made an offer for defenseman Jack Johnson ($4.3 million).
Hartnell had agreed during the summer to waive his no-movement clause, but he’s since changed his mind. With seven points in the Jackets’ first 10 games, they could prefer hanging onto him for now. Johnson is signed through 2017-18 and lacks a no-trade clause, but with Seth Jones currently sidelined for several weeks, it’s unlikely he’ll be going anywhere in the short term.
Given their respective cap hits and with only five teams carrying over $4 million in cap room, trading either guy in salary-dumping deals is almost impossible at this time of year. If the Jackets are out of playoff contention by the March 1 trade deadline, perhaps they’ll have better luck finding suitors.
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.).
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.